Family of Wayne Farms Albertville employee blames plant for COVID-19 uptick

Northeast Alabama

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Marshall County.

Wayne Farms Albertville spokesman Frank Singleton told WHNT News 19 Thursday that 80 employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Amber Souphwick works parameter at the poultry plant, which is where they get the chicken ready for stores by de-skinning it, splitting the breasts apart, and checking for remaining bones.

She said that going into work is getting more difficult for her.

“A sense of dread like I don’t want to go in but I need to because I still have to work to pay bills,” explained Souphwick.

Souphwick lives with her fiancé and his mother, who has fibromyalgia.

“If I get this disease, the coronavirus, it affects your lungs and it could pretty much kill me automatically,” said Souphwick’s soon-to-be mother-in-law Stephanie Landrum.

But Landrum told WHNT News 19 that she is not just worried about herself.

“I have a 14-year-old that’s autistic. I try to keep my family well and now with her working at a place that’s got the highest cases of it, in the factory, how can I keep my family safe?” said Landrum.

Landrum blames Wayne Farms Albertville for the uptick in positive coronavirus tests.

“If it wasn’t for them having the highest ratings and one death, I think we wouldn’t be considered a hotspot,” said Landrum.

Souphwick said there is no chance for social distancing on her line.

She added that despite masks now being a requirement for all employees, some aren’t wearing them properly or at all.

“Some people will wear them under the noses. And I’ve seen some people still just wear the beard nets and they don’t get in trouble. The masks get really hot and it fogs their glasses up,” explained Souphwick.

Souphwick and Landrum want the plant to be shut down.

“We understand the hardship of needing money to work but we need to get control over this virus here in Marshall County,” said Landrum.

“It’d be nice if they shut us down for two weeks or so, so people will stay at home and this will help the virus go away sooner,” said Souphwick.

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