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Ogle County Health Department orders closure of Hormel’s Rochelle Foods

ROCHELLE (WREX) — The Ogle County Health Department is ordering the immediate closure Hormel's Rochelle Foods facility because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Friday, 24 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the facility in Ogle County.

A release sent by the department says the plant has 48 hours to comply with the order and that it will be in effect for 2 weeks.

"Although many essential businesses are open and operating, we will not tolerate them risking the health and safety of their employees and our community during this pandemic or any other time," said Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows.

Of the 24 cases linked to the plant, 19 of the cases are in Ogle County, three are in Whiteside, and two are in Winnebago County.

"Due to the outbreak, it is necessary to take immediate action to protect the community from this dangerous and infectious disease," the release said.

The release also says the health department has attempted to assist in the control of the outbreak, but those attempts have been unsuccessful.

Those attempts include:

— Recommendations for additional testing
— Additional steps for employee monitoring
— Recommendation for additional Sanitation processes
— Isolation of positive cases
— Quarantine of close contacts and household contacts
— Recommendation of a two-week voluntary closure

Hormel Foods released the following statement Friday night:

"Rochelle Foods was issued a notice of closure from the local health department on April 17. We are working to further understand the closure order and are consulting with our legal counsel to understand next steps. We have decided to voluntarily close our facility to ensure a broader understanding of COVID-19 in the Rochelle community, Ogle county and the impact on our operations. Rochelle Foods team members will continue to be paid during the closure."

Hormel Foods

Audrey Moon

Audrey is the news director at 13 WREX. She’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and joined the team at 13 WREX in 2014.

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