Coronavirus: 50 cases now linked to farm outbreak in Urbana

Michael Farms

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Michael Farms

A farm outbreak in Urbana has 50 positive cases of COVID-19 associated with it, according to the Champaign Health District.

Michael Farms, located at 5089 Urbana-Moorefield Rd. in Urbana, had 50 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday, said Shelby Ballentine, Health Educator for the CHD.

“All 50 cases are from employees,” Ballentine said.

On Aug. 3, Ballentine said all 86 employees of the farm had been tested by the Ohio Department of Health and some results from that testing were pending. As of Wednesday, all of those test results have been returned, Ballentine said.

The Springfield News-Sun reached out to Michael Farms about the status of the outbreak and did not receive a response.

But Scott Michael, CEO of Michael Farms, said in a previous statement that the farm is “working through proper channels with local health officials to protect the safety of all of our employees as well as the public.”

“Impacted workers are being kept separate from others and will be remaining in their on-site residences to avoid any contact with the local community,” Michael said.

ExploreCoronavirus: 33 cases linked to farm outbreak in Urbana

Michael Farms supplies grocery retailers and foodservice distributors in Ohio and surrounding states with fresh produce, according to their website. The farm grows snap beans, sweet corn, cabbage and potatoes on nearly 3,000 acres.

The outbreak, along with community spread, is what has caused Champaign County’s case count to increase over the last month, Ballentine said.

“We have been seeing a lot of new cases due to community spread,” Ballentine said.

The increase in cases has caused Champaign County to remain on the Ohio Department of Health’s top 10 counties ranked by the highest rate of coronavirus based on population for the second week in a row.

Gov. Mike DeWine said during this press conference on Tuesday that rural counties across the state are continuing to see an increase in the spread of COVID-19.

Of the top 10 counties ranked for the highest rate of coronavirus based on population, all of them would be considered rural, DeWine said. Mercer County led the state this week with 245.3 cases per 100,000.

Last week the Champaign County was ranked number two with 185.2 cases per 100,000 people from July 28 to Aug. 10. This week the county was ranked 10th with 159 cases per 100,000 from Aug. 4 to Aug. 17.

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s website, as of Wednesday afternoon, Champaign County had 219 coronavirus cases and two deaths. Clark County had 1,291 cases, 14 deaths and two probable deaths.

On Wednesday, Ohio has reported 110, 881 total cases and 3,907 deaths of the coronavirus, according to the ODH. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 950 new cases and 36 new deaths were reported.

ExploreCoronavirus: Champaign County among top counties with highest coronavirus rates in state

Facts & Figures

219: Champaign County coronavirus cases

1,291: Clark County coronavirus cases

50: Number of confirmed coronavirus cases at Michaels Farm in Urbana

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