Possible cluster of COVID-19 cases being investigated at West Dallas meat processing plant
DALLAS - Dallas County is investigating a possible cluster of COVID-19 cases among workers at a Dallas meat processing company.
A community activist claims dozens of employees at Quality Sausage tested positive and two employees died. The company says it paused operations to test employees.
The group is accusing Quality Sausage of not putting proper safety precautions in place to protect employees. While the company did not confirm if they've had any employees test positive for COVID-19, they did say they've temporarily paused their operations as they get employees tested.
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Blanca Parra is mourning the death of her fiancé and the father of her two children, Hugo Dominguez.
“I feel lost without him,” she said. “He was the love of my life, and I feel so angry with the company.”
Family members say Dominguez started feeling sick around April 16 with a fever and body aches.
“He just stepped out in the middle of the shift at 4:50 p.m. on a Sunday,” Parra said. “He told them he can’t continue working because he was feeling sick.”
Dominguez’s family says he tested positive for COVID-19 and died April 25
Community activist Carlos Quintanilla says workers told him 52 employees have tested positive and two employees have died.
FOX 4 reached out to the state health department, which referred us to Dallas County Health and Human Services. The county did not confirm an exact number, but it did say it is aware of COVID-19 cases associated with the company and is investigating those cases.
“It’s very clear from talking to several of their workers they accelerated the pressure,” Quintanilla said. “There was a lot of pressure from this company to produce.”
Quality Sausage, which supplies meat for pizza toppings and other foods, denies the allegations. The company said it cannot comment on specific employees’ health due to privacy concerns, but it says it did provide paid sick time and implement safety guidelines including social distancing, checking employee temperatures, restricting outside visitors and sanitizing common areas.
“We have taken this action as a way to help protect the health and safety of our team members and expect to conclude our review during the week of April 27,” the company said in a statement. “During this pause in production, all employees will continue to be paid. We also expect no disruption in supplying products to our customers at this time, based on current inventory.”
However, Dominguez’s family still believes the company is responsible.
“They didn’t protect him,” Parra said. “He had to get out himself because they didn’t do anything for them.”
Quality Sausage says it is cooperating with health officials and has adapted its procedures to reflect updated health and safety guidance. The company went on to say, according to the FDA and CDC, there’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.
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