COVID Confidential: Two Essential Workers Share Coronavirus Experience

Jun 9, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Logan is the highest in the nation for a city its size. When rumors of a COVID-19 outbreak at the JBS meat-packaging facility in Hyrum started circling, the company responded by testing every employee. Of the 1,024 tests conducted between May 30 and June 2, nearly 300 came back positive.

One individual, who asked to remain unnamed, said other than the temperature checks and requirements for facial shields, not much changed at work.

“Our work hours have stayed the same," they said. "Honestly, sometimes we've worked longer on the kill. Everybody's still really close together. I mean, they really can't put dividers up between people because of how it's set up.”

Multiple people have said even after the testing was conducted, employees were asked to return to work before receiving test results — some were already feeling sick, but were asked to come in due to the high-demand to supply the nation with meat. By the time this individual found out they’d tested positive for the virus, they’d worked all four days and visited with older family members.

Now, employees who have tested positive are quarantined at home. But many were living paycheck-to-paycheck and are now concerned about providing for their families now that they’re no longer receiving an income.

“Una semana más,” said another individual in Cache Valley. One more week.

One more week until the food they’ve received through donations runs out, along with the last of their money. This person’s family had been struggling even before contracting the virus, despite working 13-15 hour days. 

Like many immigrants, the person says they make less than other non-Hispanic, white employees, despite working more hours.

They said, “That’s just how it is here.”

“Even if we’re not comfortable going back to work, we have to," they said, "because the bills are accumulating and we need money to pay.”  

The full list of donation drop-off sites organized by local Latinx advocate and Utah State University professor Crescencio López-Gónzalez is as follows: 

Iglesia Católica de Santo Thomas de Aquino

Phone: 435-752-1478

573 E. 2050 North

Logan, UT 84341

Iglesia de Dios Peniel- Un Nuevo Comienzo

Marisol Montufar y Francisco Montufar

Phone: 435-760-6031

340 N. 800 East

Hyrum, UT 84319

Danny Beus

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Phone: 435-232-3923

386 Sheridan Ridge Lane

Nibley, UT 84321

Elizabeth Springborn

Phone: 435-374-8952

336 E. 700 South

Logan, UT 84321

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Phone: 435-245-5898

310 N. 800 East

Hyrum, UT 84319

Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection

Jess Lucero

Phone: 307-221-3515

93 S. 1250 East

Logan, UT 84321

Stef Burns

stef.burns@gmail.com

(Relief Society-Hygiene Kits)