Employees at one area plant raised concerns about working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, workers protested outside the Pilgrim’s poultry plant in Timberville, according to Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson.
The morning protest was peacefully resolved, Hutcheson said, who added a deputy served as a “mediator” between the protestors and Pilgrim’s staff.
“It sounds like a few of the workers were concerned about the conditions and not enough precautions taken and things like that,” Hutcheson said.
Pilgrim’s employees Roque Tienda and his brother, Antonio Tienda, said in an afternoon interview they were interested in what the protestors had to say.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Roque Tienda said. “There was a lot of people. They were talking about not going to work and I said ‘Nope, this is not for me. I’m going to work ‘cause I need to pay my bills. It’s a risk for me, you know, but that’s it.”
His brother agreed continuing to work in the plant was hazardous.
“It’s a risky health situation,” Antonio Tienda said.
The Comite Salvadoreno Paisanos Unidos (COSPU) sent out a press release Friday evening calling on city and county leaders, along with businesses, churches and health services, to keep in mind the immigrant community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Concerns have been raised in the community about some local business and factory policies and practices regarding exposure, quarantine and sanitizing with regard to COVID-19,” the nonprofit’s release said.
Calls to the Timberville Pilgrim’s plant along with calls and emails to Pilgrim’s headquarters in Greeley, Colo., were not answered Friday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia rose to 2,012 on Friday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
The latest numbers also showed 22 cases in Harrisonburg and 11 in Rockingham County.
The new numbers also show that 312 people have been hospitalized, with 46 deaths statewide. The number of people tested continued to climb, now at 19,005.
On Thursday, the VDH reported that 1,706 had tested positive for the virus.
In most cases, the new coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms, including cough and fever. The elderly and those with underlying health problems can experience more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.
Those who are 65 and older or have serious medical problems, such as lung and heart disease and diabetes, are urged to self-isolate. Frequent hand-washing and social distancing are recommended to help stop the spread of the virus.