COVID-19 testing at Eastern Shore’s poultry plants shows 18 percent of tests came back positive

Accomack County

ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) –The Eastern Shore Health District has released COVID-19 test results from the Shore’s poultry plants, revealing an 18 percent positive case rate.

The health district has received results for about 2,875 results out of an expected 3,100 from the poultry plants. The tests were conducted at the plants last week.

Of those tests, there were about 510 positives, according to a news release from the Eastern Shore Health District.

The positive rate at the poultry plants far exceeds the rate of positive tests from a mass testing clinic offered at Eastern Shore Community College on May 8 and 9.

During that mass testing clinic, 1380 people were tested. Only 49 people were positive, and 41 tests were inconclusive or invalid, the release said. Including all tests given, the percentage of positive tests from the clinic was almost .04 percent.

The Tyson and Perdue poultry plants on the Eastern Shore have been hot spots for COVID-19 cases.

Accomack, which has the third-highest number of cases in the state per capita, added 55 new cases on Friday after reporting 48 new cases on Thursday. The county of about 32,000 residents has 648 reported cases, 100-plus cases more than Virginia Beach, which has 450,000 residents.

The Eastern Shore Health District said Friday the results of the testing from poultry plants will not appear in case counts on the Virginia Department of Health website for several days, however, the last of results from the testing at the community college will be added to state data by Saturday.

As of Friday afternoon, only about 85 of the 510 cases at the poultry plants had been added to the state’s data for Accomack and Northampton counties.

“The labs that processed the tests are not connected to VDH electronic reporting and each result will have to be entered manually into the database to be counted. In addition, some of the positive cases do not reside in Virginia,” the health district release said.

Accomack is one of several localities that are exempt from the phase 1 reopening process in the state.

Virginia is in the process of reopening following substantial closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, most of the state entered phase 1, allowing personal grooming appointments, 50-percent capacity for outdoor dining, and more.

Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Eastern Shore’s Accomack County (though not Northampton), have all been granted a phase 1 delay of at least two weeks by Gov. Ralph Northam.

Those with questions can contact the Eastern Shore Health District public information line at 757-787-5880.

RELATED: Perdue Farms holds virtual Town Hall webinar for Accomac facility to address COVID-19 concerns

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