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Poultry industry coronavirus cases continue to increase on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Nearly 300 workers in the Eastern Shore poultry industry have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Nearly 300 workers in the Eastern Shore poultry industry have tested positive for the coronavirus. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

The Eastern Shore poultry industry continues to see an increase in coronavirus among its workers, pushing up infection rates in the region.

A total of 279 workers in the poultry industry have tested positive for the coronavirus, state officials announced Friday.

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The state has set up testing sites at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury and in Caroline County.

The outbreaks associated with the poultry industry have caused Wicomico County’s infection rate to rise to the fourth in the state, surpassing Baltimore City and Baltimore County, according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.

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Wicomico, home to the Salisbury headquarters of Perdue Farms and other poultry businesses, has 425 confirmed cases and seven deaths among a population of about 103,000 people.

Perdue Farms is Wicomico’s third-largest employer, with 1,600 workers, according to state data.

Neighboring Sussex County in Delaware, also with significant ties to the poultry industry, has more than 2,200 confirmed cases and 58 deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent a team to help with the response to the virus, and leaders from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia have met to discuss issues in the industry.

“This remains a rapidly evolving situation, and we will continue to keep Eastern Shore residents informed about these outbreaks in their area,” Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement Friday morning.

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