Local health departments release final numbers from employee testing


ROCHELLE – The local health departments in the Northern Illinois Rockford Region have collaborated to address the outbreak of COVID-19 among workers at Rochelle Foods and Saturday afternoon released the final numbers of positive cases identified through testing conducted following the plant's closure in April.

Through the cooperation of Rochelle Foods, over 800 employees were tested and 123 positive cases have been identified throughout the Northern Illinois Rockford region with a 14 percent positivity rate. The LHDs in the region have conducted contact tracing and isolated all positive cases to prevent further transmission in our communities.

Rochelle Community Hospital and KSB Hospital in Dixon provided the testing. 

Rochelle Foods has implemented recommendations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in its facility and plans to reopen the facility Monday, May 4 as state in a press release from Hormel Foods Saturday morning.

All workers returning to work are encouraged to stay healthy and take action to protect themselves, their co-workers, and their workplace — precautions also protect family and community.

All essential workers should take the following steps to help stay healthy and safe while at work:

  • Wear a face mask/face covering when out in public and you are unable to keep a 6-foot distance from others (when entering and exiting the building, when in hallways)
  • Do not rideshare with others who do not reside in your household.
  • Wear all personal protective equipment provided to you by your employer and notify them if the equipment needs to be replaced from tears and/or soil.
  • Remember to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet including during lunch and breaks
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Notify your supervisor immediately if you become sick while on the job
  • Do not go into work if you are sick, follow your workplace policies

For more information

Go to IDPH, CDC, and OSHA websites.

  • http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus 
  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 
  • https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/ 

For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931.

A breakdown of positive cases by county was not provided.