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WEISER — Southwest District Health confirmed a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases in Washington County on Wednesday. Several employees of Fry Foods, Inc. in Weiser, and some contacts outside the workplace are included in the cluster.

“Fry Foods has closed their Weiser plant voluntarily,” said Douglas Arnold Wold, Fry Foods human resources manager, in a press release. “The plant will remain closed until the owners, director and Southwest District Health feel it is in the best interests of the plant’s employees and the community.”

Epidemiologists are working to identify and contact anyone who may have been exposed to infected individuals, according to Southwest District Health. Individuals who do not receive a call from the health district have not been named as a close contact and do not have cause for elevated concern.

Fry Foods manufactures onion rings and other breaded and battered products for retail and food service, according to the company’s website.

The positive cases at Fry Foods come less than a week after a report that around 23 employees from CS Beef Packers, a beef processing plant in Kuna, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“It is still so important to keep taking precautions to protect yourselves and those around you. Please avoid social gatherings with those not in your immediate household, continue to practice physical distancing, stay home when you are sick, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often, and wear cloth face coverings when leaving your home,” said Nikole Zogg, the health district’s director.

Community members showing symptoms of mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should call first before going to their medical provider’s office.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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