Evergreen has been reporting their positive cases among employees since April.

According to a report released by the Arkansas Department of Health, as of July 20, there are 21 total businesses in Arkansas with five or more active COVID-19 cases, with 16 of those from Poultry Businesses.

From the Poultry Businesses, 55.9% or 214 cases are Hispanic or Latino out of the 383 total active cases. The number of recovered cases from the Poultry Businesses is 3,277.

Local business, Evergreen Packaging of Pine Bluff is ranked number two on the Non-Poultry list with 36 cumulative cases. Of the 36 cases, eight still remain active.

With facilities throughout North America, the business has been transparent during the COVID-19 pandemic with their in house COVID-19 cases.

Evergreen has been reporting their positive cases among employees since April.

In their latest CIVID-19 update the company stated the COVID-19 outbreak presented unprecedented challenges for individuals and for businesses adding Evergreen’s top priority is to protect the health of their employees and customers, as well as every person who uses their products, and to minimize any disruption in supplying products to our valuable customers.

Labeled as a “Critical Infrastructure Industry”, CEO of Evergreen Packaging, John Rooney said Evergreen Packaging’s operations, as well as their supply chain, fall under that designation and “Consumers trust our package to help protect nutrients and extend shelf life, as they seek to comply with local quarantine protocols,” said Rooney.

CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them.

According to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who issues guidance to help government and private sector partners clarify the scope of critical infrastructure and key essential personnel, there are many types of employees that are required to sustain normal day-to-day services that enable the economy and way of life.

“The Department of Homeland Security has defined certain businesses as “Critical Infrastructure Industries,” including forest products (paper), food supply and food packaging,” said Rooney. “Evergreen Packaging’s operations, as well as our supply chain, fall under this designation. Our PlantCarton® packaging, specifically, is essential to protecting food and beverage products.”

CISA says it is important for governments to remember that the impacts of interruptions to critical infrastructure services may be felt far from your borders. The downstream impact of a restriction on workers in their community must be considered.

Rooney said they will continue to closely monitor developments in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and vigilantly prepare for contingencies, for the purpose of seeking to maintain full time production at their paper and paperboard mills and at their carton converting facilities.

To protect their employees, the company has put in place at all of their facilities hygiene and sanitization protocols according to the guidance of the CDC and WHO. Evergreen has put in place rules for all employees to monitor health and self-quarantine according to the guidance of CDC.

According to the CDC, Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:

• Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.

• Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.

• Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.

• Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.

• Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.

If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately according to the CDC. Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.

These implementations apply to all Critical Infrastructure sectors which include: Chemical Sector, Commercial Facilities Sector, Communications Sector, Critical Manufacturing Sector, Dams Sector, Defense Industrial Base Sector, Emergency Services Sector, Energy Sector, Financial Services Sector, Food and Agriculture Sector, Government Facilities Sector, Healthcare and Public Health Sector, Information Technology Sector, Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector, Transportation Systems Sector and Water and Wastewater Systems Sector.

“As a food packaging supplier for customers who are meeting a critical need for consumers, we appreciate the trust our customers and consumers place in us,” said Rooney. “We are committed to delivering reliably and communicating in the event that there is any unavoidable disruption. We appreciate the opportunity to work with customers and consumers to make a difference during these challenging times.”