Hormel plant in Rochelle ordered closed over COVID-19 outbreak

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:17 PM CDT
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The Ogle County Health Department orders the closure of Hormel's Rochelle plant over an outbreak of COVID-19.

The company has 48 hours to comply with the order. The closure order is in effect for two weeks from the date of compliance.

The health department says 24 cases of COVID-19 are linked to the facility, including 19 in Ogle County, three in Whiteside County and two in Winnebago County.

"Although many essential businesses are open and operating, we will not tolerate them risking the health and safety of their employees or our community during this pandemic or any other time," said Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows.

The Ogle County Health Department says it has made several attempts to help the facility, including recommendations for additional testing, employee monitoring, sanitation processes, isolation of positive cases, quarantine of close contacts and household contacts and recommendation of a voluntary two-week closure.

Rochelle Foods released the following statement:

"Rochelle Foods was issued a notice of closure from the local health department on April 17. We are working to further understand the closure order and are consulting with our legal counsel to understand next steps. We have decided to voluntarily close our facility to ensure a broader understanding of COVID-19 in the Rochelle community, Ogle county and the impact on our operations. Rochelle Foods team members will continue to be paid during the closure."

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