COVID testing

Details are still being worked out, but Pilgrim’s Pride is working with state and local officials to establish COVID-19 testing at the facility.

Pilgrim’s Pride is working with state and local officials to establish COVID-19 testing at the facility.

However, all of the parties involved are still working out details for what this testing will look like and when it will be conducted. County Judge Don Lymbery said it would likely be the state who facilitates the testing on the company’s property.

“Pilgrim’s is going to be completely cooperative with plans and testing going forward,” Lymbery said. “Those schedules are being worked out.”

Nikkie Richardson, a corporate communications officer for JBS USA and Pilgrim’s, confirmed that there will be testing at the facility, but said those logistics are still being determined. Seth Christensen, the chief of media and communication for the state of Texas Department of Emergency Management, echoed this message.

“Details are still being worked out,” he said. “At this point it is possible that there could be testing next week.”

On May 8, Angelina County & Cities Health District administrator Sharon Shaw confirmed that 50 of the 107 COVID-19 cases in the county at that time came from the plant. On the same day, the city of Lufkin confirmed the death of one Pilgrim’s employee who had previously tested positive for the virus.

“Pilgrim’s is cooperating completely,” Lymbery said. “They want to get as much of an impact from testing as they can and still keep people safe so they can continue doing their business while being as least disruptive as possible.”

Richardson also sent a press release describing the extent of the company’s community donations in light of Coronavirus Response Efforts. They announced that they would invest more than $200 million to support its team members, including $50 million in communities where their team members work to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well being and support relief efforts.

The state’s testing site outside the Pitser Garrison Convention Center will remain open through Sunday.

The free testing is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Anyone wanting to be tested should call (512) 2400 or visit txcovidtest.org to register.

Jess Huff's email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.

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