Jennie-O temporarily closing 2 facilities in Willmar amid COVID-19 outbreak

Jennie-O has confirmed workers at their Willmar plant have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Jennie-O Turkey Store will be temporarily closing both of its facilities in Willmar, Minnesota following a COVID-19 outbreak amongst its employees.

As of Thursday, 14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to company officials.

During the closure, the facilities at Willmar Avenue and Benson Avenue will be cleaned and sanitized. Employees will continue to receive their pay and benefits while the facilities are closed.

"The health, well-being and safety of our team members is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to take a pause in operations," said Steve Lykken, president of Jennie-O Turkey Store in a press release. "We are being thoughtful and considerate in our approach to this process. I want to recognize our production professionals for continuing to do an outstanding job as they work to keep food on tables during this unprecedented time. I am very proud of them and I look forward to being back together as soon as we are able."

Lykken says Jennie-O has implemented wellness screenings and provided masks to employees across its facilities.

Operations will wind down throughout the weekend. It's unclear when the Willmar facilities will reopen, but Lykken says the company is working with external partners to determine when will be appropriate.

The company is encouraging employees to get tested.

Other food processing plants in Minnesota have reported employees testing positive for COVID-19. At least 33 employees at the JBS plant in Worthington have tested positive. The JBS plant has closed indefinitelyTwo plants in Stearns County, including a Jennie-O in Melrose, have confirmed cases as well.