The local slaughterhouse's coronavirus cluster was the first large outbreak we heard about in Champaign County. The sprawling pork processing plant sits in the midst of cornfields some 17 miles north of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Until early May, workers there processed 35 million pounds of pork a month. The company reported its first case on 25 April. Health inspectors arrived two days later to find the plant 90 percent out of compliance in its infection control practices. By 15 May, after testing 200 of the 627 workers for COVID-19, 83 got positive results. Management admitted it was ‘complex’ to track employees being tested and to follow up with those who had to be quarantined. That's when they contacted the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They then announced confidently to the local press: We've got it under control. We have the scientists now.
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