Around 270 Tyson Foods workers test positive for COVID-19, employees say

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Grayson County health officials confirmed the first death related to COVID-19, a man in his 50s from Denison.

Co-workers tell us he worked as a a forklift operator at Tyson Foods in Sherman, where multiple employees say around 270 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

They said he was feeling sick and felt shortness of breath Tuesday morning, so he drove himself to the hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest.

He was tested last week, but didn't get his results until it was reported as his cause of death.

Several Tyson Foods employees say there are around 270 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the Sherman plant.

Last week, the Texas Department of Emergency Management tested every worker, but employees say as results come in, the outbreak keeps growing.

One employee we spoke with wanted to remain anonymous for fear he could lose his job, so we disguised his voice.

"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 two-week quarantine," he said.

He was at the doctor's office to get tested again.

He says he was sent home Tuesday, when he showed COVID-19 symptoms like hot and cold sweats, and chills.

Employees tell us around 300 to 400 test results are still pending, and around 1,000 have come back negative.

They're checking temperatures before employees go inside.

"Which nobody had a temperature. Everybody was making it into the building and working," the employee said.

He says workers whose results are pending are still coming to work, and that as results come in, those who test positive are notified during their 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," he said.

Tyson Spokesperson Derek Burleson gave us this statement: "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, and we have put in place a host of protective steps at our facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19."

He said they won't release a number of positive cases at the Sherman plant because they are waiting on test results to come back that are still pending.

He says they expect to have those tests results by Wednesday, and that's when they plan to release the number of positive cases.