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Brown County announces second COVID-19 death; testing starts at JBS

(WBKO)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 12:35 PM CDT
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Brown County Public Health officials have announced a second death linked to COVID-19.

The county's Public Health Department made the announcement Tuesday as it released new information on the outbreak in the county.

No identifying information was released about the patient who died. The Health Department says it will release that information when it becomes available.

The number of confirmed cases in Brown County increased from 297 on Monday to 317 on Tuesday.

Health officials have linked a recent increase in cases in Brown County to a large cluster at the JBS Beef Plant on Lime Kiln Road in Green Bay.

"One of the things that we're seeing right away with the meat packing industry anecdotally is that some of the things aren't necessarily being followed in the public, and we're asking for the public's help in adhering to the Safer at Home Order by the governor," said Brown County Public Health Information Officer Ted Shove.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has responded to the Green Bay to assist with contact tracing and testing related to the JBS outbreak, according to the health department. CDC workers arrived in Green Bay Monday.

Employee testing has started at JBS. About 2,000 tests from the state arrived in Green Bay for the purpose of testing employees. Results will not be available for a few days.

"It's a matter of more how a plan is put together and marshalling in an organized manner the employees coming in to test prior to them reporting to their work shift," said Shove.

It's still unclear how many JBS workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Action 2 News has asked that question and is waiting for numbers.

Shove says there has been no recommendation to close the JBS facility at this time, calling the discussion preemptive. Shove says it is a complex decision that involves the USDA, state and CDC. Shove says the goal is to not upset the supply chain.

Another Brown County company, sausage maker Salm Partners, has confirmed 10 full time employees have been diagnosed with coronavirus over the last three weeks. The facility in Denmark employs 500 people.

Shove says there is still nothing confirmed regarding possible cases linked to in-person voting during the April 7 primary election. He says there may be something to report by the end of the week.

seven coronavirus cases are linked to in-person voting during the election. There was a last minute attempt by Gov. Tony Evers to delay the election, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state GOP and the election continued.

In a Facebook post, Bellin Health informed people who voted in person April 7 to "stay alert to possible changes in your health and know the symptoms of COVID-19."

Twenty-two patients are hospitalized with coronavirus in Brown County. Thirty patients are out of isolation.