Five Post Consumer Brands employees in Northfield have tested positive for COVID-19.

Senior Communications Associate Jordan Gaal said that number, as of Thursday, is out of the more than 600 employees who work in the Northfield facilities.

“In addition to continuing to follow our industry-leading health and safety practices, we have implemented an onsite wellness program at our Northfield plants and distribution centers to monitor for early signs of COVID-19,” Gaal said. “The program is staffed by third-party medical professionals, and includes daily temperature checks and a wellness screening before each shift begins and before individuals enter the plant.”

Other steps Post has taken include purchasing face masks for employees, increasing cleaning frequency, staggering shifts and implementing social distancing.

Gaal said facilities are highly automated, which allows Post to continue production and at the same time taking necessary additional steps to ensure worker safety.

As of today, Rice County has had 295 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 5 months of age through 89 years of age, with a median age of 35.2

That’s an increase of 25 cases since Tuesday. On May 7, Rice County had 55 confirmed cases of the virus.

Eleven of those 295 lab confirmed cases, ranging in age from 31 years old to 80 years old, have required hospitalization. Four of those 11 hospitalized cases have required ICU admission. Rice County has had two COVID-19 related deaths.

Post Consumer Brands is not the only area factory with COVID-19 cases. Owatonna glass-manufacturing company Viracon is identified as having a minimum of 80 of Steele County’s 115 cases. Workers at Daikin Applied in Owatonna and Faribault Foods in Faribault have also tested positive for the virus. Both companies confirmed the cases and announced steps to control the spread late last month.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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