California seafood distributor center of “COVID-19 cluster”

Published on
May 27, 2020

Lusamerica Fish, located in Morgan Hill, California, has become the center of a “COVID-19 cluster,” San Jose Inside reported.

The company, which sells a variety of seafood under the “Tasty Catch” brand, has had 38 employees in the distribution facility test positive for COVID-19, public health officials have stated. According to Mercury News, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said, during a committee meeting on 26 May, that the outbreak started with a spouse of an employee at the plant being hospitalized due to the virus.

After that initial positive case, the company notified all employees who had been in contact with that particular worker, and then tested all employees in the facility.

“All of those 38 people are of course no longer at work, and we will be returning to repeat testing,” Cody said.

Lusamerica Fish’s COO Louise Moretti told Mercury News that the majority of the cases appear to be relatively minor.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said, “that those that have tested positive, the majority are asymptomatic, so they are not experiencing the worst symptoms.”

The outbreak is the latest in a number of outbreaks that have occurred in seafood processing facilities across the country. Bristol Seafood, in Portland, Maine, recently voluntarily paused production in light of positive COVID-19 cases. Blue Harvest, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, also temporarily shut down in April due to its own set of positive COVID-19 cases. Both of those facilities have since been reopened.

The story is the same on the opposite side of the U.S. Pacific Seafood had to temporarily close a plant in Warrenton, Oregon after a positive case of COVID-19 was reported, and an Ocean Beauty Seafoods' plant in Cordova, Alaska has also had positive cases of the virus.

For Lusamerica, the current tract is continued testing of all employees, and the company has also closed down shared facilities and is taking the temperature of employees.

“We recently experienced cases of COVID-19 at one of our facilities and have partnered with the County of Santa Clara to minimize any risk to our employees and the community,” a statement from the company read, according to San Jose Inside. “We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our entire team, while continuing to serve our customers with the high quality and service they have come to expect.” 

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