SHERMAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials in Grayson County have confirmed the first death related to COVID-19 — a man in his 50s from Denison. Family members say he was a forklift operator at the Tyson Foods plant in Sherman.

Some employees at the plant say there have been nearly 300 workers there who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Family members say the only Grayson County victim was feeling sick and had begun to have shortness of breath, so he drove himself to the hospital — once there the man went into cardiac arrest.

The man had reportedly been tested for the virus days before, but hadn’t yet received the results.

It was last week when the Texas Department of Emergency Management tested every worker at the Tyson plant. But employees say while they are waiting to learn if they are positive, the outbreak at the Sherman facility keeps growing.

One employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “I mean today they were just coming basically as they were getting results in, they were coming and getting people and escorting them out of the building and telling them to go on a 2-week quarantine.”

The man went to a doctor’s office to get tested again. He says he was sent home Tuesday after showing COVID-19 symptoms that included hot and cold sweats and chills.

According to employees, some 1,000 tests have come back negative, but there are between 300-400 tests that are are still pending. Workers whose results are pending are allegedly still going to work, and those who test positive are notified on the job.

“So basically all they’re doing is walking up to you and saying, ‘Hey, I need you to come with me.’ And they walk you to the door almost like you’re being fired, which to me would be like humiliation,” the worker said.

Officials at Tyson have begun checking the temperatures of employees before allowing them inside the building.

Tyson spokesperson Derek Burelson issued a statement that said, in part, “We are saddened by the loss of any Tyson team member and sympathize with their family at this difficult time. At Tyson Foods our top priority is the health and safety of our team members.”

The company said they would not release the number of positive cases at the Sherman plant, because they are waiting for all of the test results to come in. Burelson said when they have that information the company plans on releasing the number of positive cases at the plant.

Comments (6)
  1. Angela Neill says:

    This is just the kind of environment to find out just what the morbidity rate really is. They’ve tested them all. How many are positive? How many get terribly ill and pass away? I hope they or the TDH shares these numbers without trying to hide them or politicize it.

  2. James Wagner says:

    Y’all wanted your freedom and liberty, y’all got it. Just don’t run to a hospital when you get it, stay home.

  3. iammarkjones says:

    It is necessary for us “poor’s” to give our lives to make sure our bosses are able to get their production bonuses. Keep Up The Good Work TEAM!~!~!!!!!!!

  4. richard stout says:

    Just as the FAT DONALD COMMANDS! Keep working grunts. We need you to lay down your life to keep my BURGERS AND FRYS COMING TO THE WHITE HOUSE! What a joke for leadership in a WORLD WIDE CRISIS!

  5. Amy says:

    Do you guys (other commenters) not get it? These people work there so you can have food on your table. They don’t just supply restaurants. They supply Wal-Mart and Kroger and other grocery stores. They’re the only reason you see beef and pork in stores right now. Getting food processed and into stores so you can buy food to eat is an essential job. It has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with freedom to work or if viruses are real or Donald Trump. It’s essential to your survival. If you don’t eat meat then fine, but don’t be complaining about there being no food when there’s no plant operating to provide it. I support them closing for at lest two weeks, but don’t complain about them going to work during a pandemic so you can have food during said pandemic.

  6. Allison G says:

    How can the Tyson spokesperson claim their “top priority is the health and safety of our team members” when Tyson continues to let thousands of its employees get sick like this—and even die—on their watch? And all of this in the name of meat, which is NOT essential.

    It’s so clear that Tyson continues to put profits over everything and everyone. They are cruel to their workers, the billions of animals abused in their supply chains, and the communities in which they operate their facilities. It’s all just so heartbreaking.

    Tyson, it’s time to do better!

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