USDA food safety inspector in Kansas dies of COVID-19

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KWCH) A Kansas food safety inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture has died amid the outbreak of coronavirus at meat processing plants.

TIME reports the inspector was located in Dodge City.

The inspector, who was not identified, is now the fourth USDA inspector to die from COVID-19 amid the pandemic, according to Paula Schelling, acting national joint council chairperson for food inspection locals for the American Federation of Government Employees.

“USDA can confirm the passing of an employee,” according to the statement. “The safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority. We thank those working on the front lines of our food supply chain for remaining on the job and for making sure the American people have access to safe food.”

Kansas is currently tracking 88 clusters around the state. Eight have been linked to meatpacking plants which account for nearly 21-percent (1,536) of the state’s 7,468 positive cases of COVID-19.

Ford County, where Dodge City and two meatpacking plants are located, currently leads Kansas in the number of positive COVID-19 cases 1,232 cases.

As of May 13, four deaths in Kansas were linked to meatpacking plants.