Even as President Donald Trump urges people back to work and reopen the economy, thousands of new coronovirus infections are being reported daily, many of which are job-related.
Recent figures show an increase of cases in meat-packing and poultry-processing plants.
There has been a surge of new infections among construction workers in Austin, Texas, where that area has recently returned to work.
Even the White House has proved sensitive, with Trump having a positive vice presidential test for one of the valets and press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence.
The development underscores high stakes for communities nationwide as they gradually loosen restrictions on trade.
Regional Health Officer Dr. “People who are getting sick right now are usually people who work,” said Mark Ascott.
“This risk is working to increase more people.” Austin’s concerns will be reflected in communities nationwide as the reopening of stores and factories creates new opportunities for the virus to spread.
Certainly, there are plenty of new infections outside of the workplace – in nursing homes, and among retired and unemployed people, especially in densely populated places such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and urban parts of New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Yet 15 US counties have the highest per capita infection rates between April 28 and May 5, all according to data compiled by the Associated Press, home to meatpacking and poultry-processing plants or state prisons.
The county with the highest per capita rate was Trousdale County in Tennessee, where about 1,300 inmates and 50 employees recently tested privately operated positives at the Trussdale Turner Correctional Center.
In the federal prison system, the number of positive cases has steadily increased. As of May 5, there were 2,066 prisoners who tested positive, 730 on 25 April.
The No. 2 county on the April list is Nobles County in Minnesota, which now has about 1,100 cases compared to two in mid-April.
Worthington, the county seat, is home to a JBS pork processing plant that employs hundreds of migrants.
“A man said to me, risk. I risked my life to come here. I never thought there was nothing I could do that would take me out, ” said the Rev. Jim Jimahan of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington.
Nebraska’s Dakota County had three cases filed for Tyson Foods’ meat plant as of April 15 and now has exceeded 1,000.
A Muslim woman from Ethiopia, who was among the 4,300 employees at the Tais plant, has suffered at least three COVID-19 deaths.
“These are sad and dangerous days,” said the Imam of Ahmed Muhammad, a regional Islamic center.
In Cass County, northern Indiana, home to a large Tyson pork-processing plant, it was confirmed that coronavirus viruses outnumbered 1,500.
It has given the county-home to 38,000 residents with the nation’s highest per capita infection rate.
The Tyson plant in Logansport, Indiana, was closed on April 25 because about 900 employees tested positive; It resumed limited operations on Thursday after deep cleaning and installation of Plexiglas workstation barriers.
Company spokesman Haley Yang said that none of the 2,200 workers would return to work without testing.
Also hardest hit by recent infections are the counties in Virginia, Delaware and Georgia where the poultry-processing plants are located.
In New York, the most difficult state during most of the epidemic, a new survey shows that factors other than the workplace were involved in many recent cases.
A survey of 1,269 patients admitted to 113 hospitals in recent times has elicited expectations that new cases will be dominated by essential workers, especially those traveling on subways and buses.
Instead, retirees accounted for 37 percent of those hospitalized; 46per percent were unemployed.
“We were thinking that maybe we were going to find a high percentage of the necessary employees who were getting sick because they were going to work, that these could be nurses, doctors, transit workers. That’s not the case,” Sarkar Said Andrew.
In Pennsylvania, of 2,578 new cases between May 4 and May 6, more than 40per percent were living in long-term care facilities.
Health officials in Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, said that of the 352 new cases between April 20 and May 5, 35 percent were residents in long-term care facilities and 14 percent percent were health care workers.
Although the elderly are responsible for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the age ratio is changing.
In January – February, 76 percent of cases involved 50 or more people.
Since March, nearly half of the cases are of that age range, with many health workers being among the earliest Americans to test positive.
They continue to be infected in large numbers.
Gerard Brogan, director of nursing practice for the California Nurses Association, says 200 nurses in California recently tested positive one day.
Nationwide, they say that National Nurses United conducted more than 28,000 positive tests and more than 230 deaths among health workers.
Among those who tested positive recently were Scarsdale of New York, Dr. Pramila was Colisatti, who practices rehab and pain management in the Bronx and is married to a urologist.
Even after extensive lockout was implemented in New York, she visited her office two to three times a week while trying to transition to telemedicine.
“It took us time to organize ourselves,” she said.
“We can’t just close the office and say, that’s the point.” Some of her employees became ill with COVID-19, and she started feeling symptoms a few weeks earlier.
After testing positive, she separated at home and is now practicing telemedicine.