Farm organizations ask lawmakers for COVID tracking reports

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MARYLAND — Farm organizations in Maryland are calling on lawmakers to address the lack of tracking of COVID cases for poultry, migrants, and seasonal agricultural and food workers.

The organization Clean Water Action tells me that the problem is not just about COVID-19, but if there is another infectious disease outbreak, it could get worse.

“It’s really about good public health,” says Emily Ranson.

Emily Ranson of Clean Water Action says the poultry and farm industries have been a hot spot for COVID-19 infections, creating a bigger problem.

“Is collecting effective data for health issues a really effective epidemiological tool to be able to effectively target 1.20 intervention before there is a problem,” says Emily Ranson.

Farm organizations alongside Clean Water Action are calling on lawmakers to make changes. Delegate Wayne Hartman says the issue may be within protocol after discovering a confirmed case of COVID.

“Employers if there is any type of outbreak they should contact the health department for advice and a big part of the problem is because the housing situation that some of the seasonal workers are in are people who work together live together and when there is an outbreak it exacerbates the problem,” said delegate Wayne Hartman.

As the COVID 19 pandemic continues, Ranson says she wants change, but it has to be done the right way.

“We really want to see this working group moving forward, but also making sure it’s public, making sure the right experts are included to make sure we’re dealing with this issue in the most effective way possible,” says Emily Ranson.

Although Delegate Hartman is contacting state and county health departments with these concerns, he says workers should use existing resources.

“A lot of things are already in place, I don’t know if we need to reinvent anything, I think we all need to remain vigilant in the standard practices that have been in place in the past and get help from employers who make health departments aware,” says Delegate Hartman.

The Clean Water Action organization also calls on the Maryland Public Health Modernization Task Force. I contacted the Maryland Department of Public Health and they told me that farm organization advocates engage in misinformation that is dangerous to public health and that MDH routinely prioritizes vulnerable populations.

MDH provided this statement:

Unfortunately, these advocates are engaged in the kind of misinformation that is dangerous to public health. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has consistently prioritized vulnerable populations since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in our nationally recognized response.

MDH has worked with local health departments, businesses, including the agriculture and seafood industries, and communities to ensure COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and other response efforts have been available and are accessible. Any Maryland resident, or visitor, can visit any of the state-sponsored COVID-19 PCR testing sites and the hundreds of covid testing sites available at covidtest.maryland.gov. Additionally, rapid COVID-19 test kits are available to all Marylanders at hundreds of locations across the state, including public libraries and community centers.

Maryland is one of the most vaccinated states in the country, and maintaining that immunity by being boosted helps Marylanders learn to live with the virus. We encourage all eligible Marylanders to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible – safe and effective vaccines are available from hundreds of sites at covidvax.maryland.gov.

Additionally, Maryland has been nationally recognized for our equity efforts – we have information and led outreach efforts with Spanish-speaking and Haitian Creole communities, and through the efforts of our efforts Medicaid immunization and the National Guard, we have some of the highest minorities. vaccination rate in the country.

MDH and each local health department are closely monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks, as reported by labs and residents of Maryland, and working with individuals to ensure they have access to COVID-19 treatments easily. available and other medical aids as indicated.

and Delmarva Chicken Association says:

The Delmarva Chicken Community acted quickly in 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among chicken company employees and family farmers who raise chicken, and continues to protect its workforce today . Safety protocols adapted by processing plants included physical distancing, personal protective equipment, plexiglass barriers, temperature checks for everyone entering the plants, hand washing and sanitizing stations , signage in multiple languages ​​(including Haitian Creole and Spanish), dividers in rest rooms, dedicated sanitation facilities. shifts and nurses on site. Processing plants adopted these measures long before they were common in other workplaces. One of Delmarva’s chicken companies, Tyson, was among the very first major U.S. employers to implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees, and all of Delmarva’s chicken companies have encouraged and facilitated campaigns. vaccination. Worker safety is an integral part of the chicken industry, and the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses among the slaughter and processing workforce in the poultry sector has fallen below rates impact for all manufacturing jobs in 2019.

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