News release from the Ogle County Health Department, April 17, 2020.
The Ogle County Health Department has ordered an immediate closure of Hormel’s Rochelle Foods facility in Rochelle. City of Rochelle officials have been briefed on the need to close the plant. The facility will have 48 hours to comply with the order. The closure order is in effect for two weeks from the date of compliance.
As of today, a total of 24 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the facility including cases in Ogle County (19), Whiteside County (3) and Winnebago County (2). Due to the outbreak, it is necessary to take immediate action to protect the community from this dangerous and infectious disease.
“Although many essential businesses are open and operating, we will not tolerate them risking the health and safety of their employees or our community during this pandemic or any other time,” said Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows.
The Ogle County Health Department has made several attempts to assist in the control of the outbreak, including:
- Recommendations for additional testing
- Additional steps for employee monitoring
- Recommendations for additional sanitation processes
- Isolation of positive cases
- Quarantine of close contacts and household contacts
- Recommendation of a two-week voluntary closure
“My team has spent countless hours in collaboration with Rochelle Foods in an attempt to mitigate the virus spread,” said Kyle Auman, Ogle County Health Department Administrator. “Since these efforts were unsuccessful, it is my duty to order a complete closure of the facility.”
The local health departments in the region continue to work closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to identify and notify those that may have been in close contact with the individuals who have tested positive for the virus. Rochelle Foods employees who believe they have been exposed and are symptomatic should contact their healthcare provider for direction.