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  1. Rogers, Tia M. PhD, MPH
  2. Robinson, Susan J. PhD
  3. Reynolds, Laura E. MPH, RN
  4. Ladva, Chandresh N. PhD, MPH
  5. Burgos-Garay, Maria PhD
  6. Whiteman, Ari PhD
  7. Budge, Holly
  8. Soto, Natalie
  9. Thompson, Mariela
  10. Hunt, Estee
  11. Barson, Todd
  12. Boyd, Andrew T. MD


Objective: To identify potential strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission in a Utah meat-processing facility and surrounding community.


Design/Setting: During March-June 2020, 502 workers at a Utah meat-processing facility (facility A) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Using merged data from the state disease surveillance system and facility A, we analyzed the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 positivity and worker demographics, work section, and geospatial data on worker residence. We analyzed worker survey responses to questions regarding COVID-19 knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors at work and home.


Participants: (1) Facility A workers (n = 1373) with specimen collection dates and SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results; (2) residential addresses of all persons (workers and nonworkers) with a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test (n = 1036), living within the 3 counties included in the health department catchment area; and (3) facility A workers (n = 64) who agreed to participate in the knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey.


Main Outcome Measures: New cases over time, COVID-19 attack rates, worker characteristics by SARS-CoV-2 test results, geospatially clustered cases, space-time proximity of cases among workers and nonworkers; frequency of quantitative responses, crude prevalence ratios, and counts and frequency of coded responses to open-ended questions from the COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey.


Results: Statistically significant differences in race (P = .01), linguistic group (P < .001), and work section (P < .001) were found between workers with positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 test results. Geographically, only 6% of cases were within statistically significant spatiotemporal case clusters. Workers reported using handwashing (57%) and social distancing (21%) as mitigation strategies outside work but reported apprehension with taking COVID-19-associated sick leave.


Conclusions: Mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks among workers in congregate settings requires a multifaceted public health response that is tailored to the workforce.


Implications for Policy and Practice: Tailored, multifaceted mitigation strategies are crucial for reducing COVID-19-associated health disparities among disproportionately affected populations.