More than five dozen COVID-19 cases tied to Brazos County poultry processing plant

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - As of Tuesday afternoon, 62 Brazos County COVID-19 cases have been tied to an outbreak at a local poultry processing plant.

The Brazos County Health District says 27 Sanderson Farms employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Brazos County. Of those 27, 18 cases are still active. Those 27 employees have been tied to an additional 35 positive contacts or family members. Of those 35, 31 cases are still active, according to health officials. That's more than a third of the currently active cases in Brazos County. 13 cases in this group have been classified as recovered by health officials.

There are currently 176 active COVID-19 cases in Brazos County.

In a press conference Monday, Brazos County Alternate Public Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan confirmed he'd consider all the cases of COVID-19 in Sanderson Farms employees to be active.

Several employees at the Sanderson Farms facility in Bryan have reached out to KBTX and shared concerns about working conditions inside the plant on Shiloh Avenue and the increasing number of workers who are testing positive for the virus. Dr. Sullivan estimated between 10 to 15 of the cases were reported in the last week. He also said the company has been cooperative with the Brazos County Health District in tracking and monitoring patients and their contacts.

Click here to watch Monday's briefing.

Dr. Sullivan also said state health officials are aware of the situation and are closely monitoring it. He said a strike team getting involved is a response that is possible, although it hasn't occurred at this time.

Sanderson Farms told KBTX in April the company began taking extra steps at its Bryan facility after two employees tested positive for COVID-19. Workers who have asked to remain anonymous for fear they could lose their job tell News 3's Rusty Surette they feel those policies have become lax over time and are not fully enforced.

One employee tells us many of the cases are coming from an area of the plant where the chicken is packaged, labeled, and then sent out for shipping.

KBTX has reached out to Sanderson Farms for their response to the concerns.