WHITE CITY, Ore. — Despite an acknowledgement that there have been 10 cases of coronavirus among employees of Amy's Kitchen in Whity City, public health data supports the company's stance that the cases are not indicative of a workplace outbreak.
A spokesperson for Amy's Kitchen issued a statement to NewsWatch 12 on Wednesday, confirming that 10 employees at the White City facility had tested positive "at various points" since the beginning of the pandemic.
"In no instance has the transmission been traced to an occurrence within the plant," said Amy's spokesperson Jen Tucci. "Upon receiving notification that an employee is sick, we work closely with Jackson County Health Officials to conduct a thorough investigation, including detailed contact tracing, and take every precaution necessary to prevent any spread among our employees.."
The Oregon Health Authority has been tracking outbreaks at major employers throughout the state for several months, listing those outbreaks of more than five cases on its weekly reports. Amy's Kitchen does not appear as a current or former site of an outbreak.
"Since the start of the pandemic, we implemented . . . stringent precautions and protocols to allow us to continue producing food for those who depend on us for it, while protecting our frontline employees who make it," Tucci said. "Taking care of our people is a core company value and priority at Amy’s Kitchen, and it serves as our guiding principle in operating throughout this pandemic."
There are only two current workplace outbreaks listed in southern Oregon — Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Jackson County with 16 linked cases, and Walker Brothers Farms in Klamath County with eight cases.
"The larger the employer, the more likely you are to have cases at your site of business," said Dr. Jim Shames, Jackson County's Health Officer. "A place like Asante that employs thousands and thousands of people, some of their workers are going to become positive. The question in terms of an outbreak is — are they sharing the disease at work? That's sometimes difficult to determine, and sometimes there's a little of that, but mostly it might just be that people are passing the disease on in their household and then coming to work."