COVID-19 question of the day: “Can I get COVID-19 from someone who packed my meat?”

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — We’re answering your coronavirus questions each weeknight on News 5 at 10. Leave us a message on the WKRG News 5 coronavirus hotline at 251-662-3055.

The question for May 5 is:
“I was concerned about the people working in these meat plants. They’re saying a lot of those people are testing positive. Would it be possible they could pass that virus along through that ground meat or any of the chicken or any of the other plants where they work?”

Most of us have seen all of the stories about meatpacking plants closing due to employees testing positive for coronavirus. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on May 1, COVID-19 cases among U.S. workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities were reported in 19 states last month. Around 5,000 employees at those facilities tested positive for COVID. Just this week, there have been reports of thousands more meatpacking plant employees with coronavirus. But right now, there’s no evidence showing you can get COVID-19 by eating the meat those employees may have packed.

“But like always, before preparing or eating food it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for 20-seconds, just general food safety recommendations,” said Dr. Rendi Murphree, Epidemiologist and director at the Mobile County Health Department.

That also includes washing and disinfecting all surfaces the raw meat and its packaging have touched, keeping the meat refrigerated until you’re ready to cook it, keeping raw meat separate from other foods, and cooking it thoroughly to kill harmful germs.

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