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Hundreds still off the job at Smithfield in Sioux Falls

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Hundreds of workers are still absent from the Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to union leaders.

AFL-CIO secretary treasurer BJ Motley says between 800 and 1,200 of the plant's 3,700 employees are either quarantined, have tested positive for the virus or fall into a high-risk category.

Those in the high-risk category were previously going to be asked to return to work June 15, but after discussions with the union that date was extended to June 29. High risk individuals would be those over age 60 who have a medical condition like diabetes that would make them susceptible to the disease.

Motley tells the Argus Leader Smithfield will continue to pay workers who were either quarantined or had the disease while they stay home until July 31.

State health officials said Monday South Dakota has confirmed 30 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 5,928 individuals who have tested positive. The state’s death toll from COVID-19 remains at 75.

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