Pacific Seafood temporarily closes Oregon plant after first COVID-19 diagnosis

Pacific Seafood temporarily closed a plant in Warrenton, Oregon, U.S.A. after a worker tested positive for COVID-19 last week. It was the first positive coronavirus test for Pacific Seafood, which is among the largest seafood companies in the United States.

John King, the general manager of the plant in Warrenton, released a statement late last week saying the seafood giant is now among “many businesses that have been directly touched by COVID-19."

“Our thoughts are with the affected team member, who is resting well at home, and we have no reason to believe that any other team members or products have been affected,” King said.

The Daily Astorian reported that the plant had shut down for a deep cleaning, adding that the company had partnered with Signature Health to provide testing for employees as it prepares to reopen the facility. Pacific Seafood has undertaken special training for employees and increased sanitation measures since the coronavirus outbreak.

In late March, president and CEO Frank Dulcich released a statement saying the company was prepared to step up and help keep grocery stores stocked during the pandemic.

“We know [our retail customers] are experiencing challenges keeping enough proteins on shelves, and filling the demand for more ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products amid restaurant closures. Due to our vertically integrated supply chain and geographically dispersed locations, we are in a unique position to solve this critical need,” Dulcich said. “We have already begun flexing our production capabilities, leveraging our availability of frozen inventory, and relying on the strength of our logistics operations and innovative packaging capabilities to rapidly meet customer needs in this unprecedented time.”

Pacific Seafood re-inaugurated the Warrenton plant in 2018 after the original plant and pier burned in 2013. The processor is preparing to bring in fish from the Pacific whiting fishery, which is set to open this week.

Pacific Seafood joins seafood companies like High Liner and Blue Harvest Fisheries, both of which temporarily shuttered plants after workers tested positive for COVID-19. Ocean Beauty Seafoods had a worker test positive in Cordova, Alaska, last week. And not far from Warrenton, in Astoria, Oregon, Bornstein Seafoods had 26 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, 9 May, according to an announcement by the Clatsop County Public Health Department.

On Sunday, 10 May, Oregon had a total of 3,228 cases of COVID-19, with 127 deaths, according to figures provided by the Oregon Health Authority.

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource


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