On-site drive-thru COVID-19 testing was conducted on May 8th and May 9th at Rantoul Foods by OSF HealthCare Mission Partners (employees) outfitted in proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Prior to May 8th, approximately 200 employees had been tested off-site. During the on-site testing, 227 employees were tested.
Here are the testing statistics:
• 52 positive cases prior to May 8th
• 27 positive cases from the on-site testing May 8th and May 9th
This wide-spread on-site testing program was an important first step and has provided a clearer picture about the extent and impact of COVID-19 in the plant’s employee population and in the community.
All employees who have tested positive will be contacted by the C-U Public Health District (CU-PHD) to interview them and contact all of their close contacts. These employees will remain off work until they have met the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for returning to work. Employees must receive written approval to return to work from the C-U PHD.
The OSF Pandemic Health Worker (PHW) Program team will be following these individuals collaboratively with C-U PHD. PHWs deliver care kits to these individuals which can include a tablet, pre-loaded with health applications (for individuals who don’t have a home computer or tablet), health education materials, a thermometer, hand sanitizer and wipes.
Rantoul Foods will work closely with the Village of Rantoul to get information to plant employees who have been infected to let them know assistance is available for them. For example, there are local resources that have secured hotel rooms at no cost for Rantoul Foods employees to quarantine and isolate.
“Rantoul Foods recognizes that it must remain vigilant and proactive about protecting the health of its employees. COVID-19 is an ongoing and evolving situation facing employers everywhere,” said Dr. David Fletcher, a board-certified public health specialist, who serves as the medical director for the plant’s on-site medical department.
Rantoul Foods will continue to closely monitor their employees for COVID-19. Up to approximately 200 employees have yet to get tested for COVID-19 and will be encouraged to go to community testing centers. Future plans to protect Rantoul Foods employees include blood serology testing to check for immunity.
Rantoul Foods is committed to continuing to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directives by proactively screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms and requiring workers who exhibit symptoms to stay home until they are symptom-free for a minimum of three days.
As noted in an earlier statement, Rantoul Foods voluntarily shut down part of its operations on Friday May 8th to undertake additional sanitation procedures. Monday, May 11th the plant will continue to operate at partial capacity while the remaining areas undergo additional sanitation.
Rantoul Foods has cooperated fully with all health recommendations from the C-U Public Health District and will continue to work with local health care providers and public health officials to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their facility. This includes providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees, encouraging ample handwashing, minimizing close contact, frequent sanitizing of common spaces, and continued communication with employees about best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Finally, Rantoul Foods wants to thank the leadership and HealthCare Mission Partners (employees) at OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center and SafeWorks Illinois for undertaking the massive testing efforts over the weekend.
For more information on COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, please visit the OSF
HealthCare COVID-19 digital health hub: www.osfhealthcare.org/covid19/. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can connect through Clare, a digital assistant available through the OSF website, or by calling the 24/7 nurse hotline at 833-OSF-KNOW (833-673-5669).