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Maddow exposes Colorado public health form that says high-risk meatpacking workers won’t be tested

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (screengrab)

On MSNBC Wednesday, Rachel Maddow exposed a form from a county health department in Colorado that appears to block COVID-19 testing for high-risk workers at a meatpacking plant.

“We just obtained a document that I want you to see,” said Maddow. “It is a document from Greeley, Colorado. Greeley, Colorado, of course, is one of the first meatpacking plants that we covered … they have had we believe eight workers die in Greeley already. This is the plant they pledged publicly that they would test all of their employees before they reopened the plant. But then they didn’t.”

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“This document is so strange, I first assumed it was all a misunderstanding,” said Maddow. “It was like a Three’s Company plot. It was a typo. But it’s apparently real. And it’s apparently not a typo … the bottom part of the form there is labeled exposure questions. do you have a household member who has had fever and/or respiratory symptoms or one who has been told they have COVID-19? Yes or no. Has the person you stand next to on your work line had fever and/or respiratory symptoms? Yes or no. Do you ride to work with anybody who has had fever and/or respiratory symptoms? Yes or no. Do you eat lunch, have you eaten lunch next to somebody at the plant with fever or respiratory symptoms? Yes or no.”

“But then look at this, on the very bottom, in bold,” said Maddow. “‘If the person answers yes to any of the above screening questions, they are not eligible to be tested.'”

“Wait a minute,” said Maddow. “They’re not eligible to be tested? If you have been exposed to somebody with fever or respiratory symptoms, if you’ve been working next to somebody with fever or respiratory symptoms, traveling to somebody who has fever or respiratory symptoms, in the lunchroom at the plant with somebody who has had fever or respiratory symptom, no, you can’t be tested? What is this? You are not eligible to be tested at the meatpacking plant if you potentially have been exposed to coronavirus.”

“I mean, this means that the local county health department, in the county where the JBS Company is the biggest employer in town, in conjunction with the county, they set up a testing protocol for the meatpacking plant workers that ensured that no one would be tested if they had any reason to be tested, if you know what I mean,” said Maddow. “Well, that’s one way to keep your numbers down. But that plant is open. Up and running. Eight employees dead already. Still hundreds of known cases in that plant. Even though that was the approach to testing.”

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