Rochelle Foods was forced to stay open by USDA health officials after more than 100 positive COVID-19 tests

Another 135 cases went unreported in September
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 8:07 AM CST
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ROCHELLE, Ill. (WIFR) -Ogle County Public Health Administrator Kyle Auman shares new details about the USDA’s push to keep Rochelle Foods open despite a COVID-19 outbreak.

“There were about twenty to thirty people on the call and they were telling us that local public health departments don’t have the authority or jurisdiction to do what we’re doing which to my understanding is false,” said Auman.

In a conference call with 6 USDA officials, Ogle County Health Department director Kyle Auman was told he could not shut down Rochelle Foods, after 123 positive COVID-19 cases, a USA Today report says.

“At the time to uncover one hundred and twenty plus cases that was more than half of our cases count in Ogle County, so that was pretty significant,” said Auman.

According to the USDA report Auman ordered the plant to shutdown for more than a week when employees were tested. Once the feds caught wind of the situation Auman says he was told the plant needed to reopen.

“What they were saying at the time is they needed to protect the food supply and based on my knowledge and conversations I was having there was no danger within disrupting the food supply,” said Auman.

The same USA Today report claims another 135 cases went unreported in September.

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