MEDIA STATEMENT: Salm Partners tests all employees for COVID-19 | April 24, 2020

MEDIA STATEMENT: Salm Partners tests all employees for COVID-19

April 24, 2020

Free tests administered to ensure worker safety

(DENMARK, WIS.) April 24, 2020—Today, all employees of Salm Partners will have the option for voluntary, free COVID-19 testing at the company’s Denmark location. Employees may be tested at the end of every work shift and results will be available early next week. Salm Partners is not being required to provide testing; it is a proactive measure to ensure the safety and good health of all employees. To encourage participation, every non-exempt employee that takes the test will receive an extra hour of pay.

“This is the right thing to do for our partners,” said CEO Keith Lindsey. “Some individuals may not realize they are carrying COVID-19 because they don’t show any symptoms, so we feel this is the right move to protect the health of our partners, their families, and the nation’s food supply.”

The company independently contracted with outside suppliers and conducted a pilot testing program at its new location on Hagar Rd. in Denmark where 30 employees were tested in cooperation with the Brown County Health Department. In all, 500 employees will have the option to be tested for the coronavirus and the results of all testing will be confidential.

If an employee tests positive for the virus, they will be connected to health care professionals and quarantined for the period required by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health authorities. To encourage employees to stay home if they are sick, Salm Partners added up to 80 hours of sick leave for each employee, has temporarily suspended the attendance policy, and is not requiring a physician’s excuse to stay home. Incentive pay is also received while employees are home on sick leave.

“We are an essential industry and we need to keep our work force healthy to continue producing products to feed the nation. Our primary mission is to create a safe environment for our partners,” Lindsey said.

The individuals employed by Salm Partners who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were put on paid leave from the time they felt ill from symptoms until healthy. Nine out of the eleven employees that worked at Salm Partners and tested positive have returned to work. None have been confirmed as contracting the virus while at work.

Since March, Salm Partners has enacted aggressive infection control measures including:

  • Every individual entering the facility is placed 6’ apart while going through a health screening which includes a wellness interview.
  • Prior to entering the plant, all partners are given temperature checks using an infrared camera
  • Some workers are bused in from outside of Denmark. Salm Partners has tripled the number of buses to ensure social distancing on the buses and checks temperatures of people boarding the bus. Buses are cleaned and disinfected before and after every shift
  • All partners wear a face mask in the facility

The company’s main facility in Denmark has been updated to ensure for individual health and safety such as:

  • A large tent outside the front entrance was installed to better regulate the flow of individuals into the plant within social distancing guidelines.
  • Built physical dividers everywhere 6 feet of separation is not possible
  • One entrance is being used to ensure compliance for all partners, contractors, and essential visitors
  • The company instituted a new process for entering/exiting to remove cross traffic
  • There is increased cleaning in common areas, locker rooms, break rooms, and washrooms
  • Instituted 6 feet social distancing in break rooms (1 chair and 1 individual per table)
  • Split up former congregation points, such as time clocks and frocks
  • Non-essential visitors are banned from the facility.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Salm Partners refers to all employees as “partners.”

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