(Fremont, NE – May 4, 2020) – Lincoln Premium Poultry shared that they learned today of the passing of an employee due an underlying health condition that was made worse by COVID-19. “We are heartbroken to learn that we lost a team member and are working to assist the family as they sort through the next steps,” said Jessica Kolterman, Director of Corporate and External Affairs.
The employee had not been at work since April 17, 2020 after asking to self-quarantine due to an underlying health issue. “The company honored the request and only learned last week on Thursday that the employee had been diagnosed with the virus,” said Kolterman, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time and we ask that the press respects their privacy as they mourn the loss, as well as the privacy of LPP team members who have lost a colleague.”
Since reporting to the public one week ago, Lincoln Premium Poultry reported an additional 13 additional cases of COVID-19 over the past week, which brings the company total to 28 cases. As of today the company has also registered 39 negative cases among employees.
“The reality is that the virus is throughout our communities, which is why it is so important to social distance at home as well as at our facilities.” said Kolterman, “Regardless, we will continue to work diligently to protect our team members in every way we can.”
Lincoln Premium Poultry has provided the opportunity for individuals over 65 to self-isolate at home, with pay. Individuals who test positive as well as individuals with known direct contact with a person who has tested positive are also self-isolating at home with pay. “We are excited to share that 4 team members have recovered and have returned to work.” said Kolterman.
Lincoln Premium Poultry has implemented additional protection measures recommended by UNMC, including additional screening, strict mandatory use of masks, and additional deep cleaning. The company had previously limited visitors to the facility, stopped food service and installed dividers on tables, provided further space between workers, implemented nightly intense cleaning interventions, is taking the temperature of all entering their facilities and had provided masks to their workforce. They have also provided a $2/hour increase to all hourly workers, which began in March, and are regularly providing chicken for their team members. This virus is not foodborne and cannot be transmitted through food or potable water.
“With the amount of testing we have been doing, we knew the numbers would be significant this week,” said Kolterman, “Our goal has been to slow the spread of the virus, and in that goal, I believe we are succeeding. We have not seen dramatic spikes in cases – they have come in through a slow and steady trickle. This speaks well of the protections we have put in place and but we will continue to be vigilant in those efforts.”
Kolterman praised the LPP team, “Words cannot express how proud we are of the team at Lincoln Premium Poultry. In spite of this challenge, they have continued producing at our projected production levels and have continued to provide product to Costco Warehouses here in Nebraska and across the western part of this country. As fewer products are available, LPP’s team has demonstrated great commitment to providing food for our country.”
Lincoln Premium Poultry was founded in 2016 in Fremont, Nebraska and began operations on September 9, 2019.