Governor Kim Reynolds says one-third of the 482 new COVID-19 cases identified in Iowa the past day are employees at meat packing plants.

“We need to work with the workers to make sure that we’re doing an assessment, see if they are showing any symptoms, that we’re getting the test done and getting them on the road to recovery,” Reynolds says.

More than 100 of the new coronavirus cases are in Black Hawk County. The county’s board of health is asking Governor Reynolds and Tyson Foods to close Waterloo’s pork processing plant where scores of employees have tested positive for the virus. County officials also want state testing guidelines changed so all workers, even those without symptoms, can be tested since people who never get a fever or cough may have the virus and can spread it.

Reynolds says experts predict 50 to 70% of the U.S. population will get COVID-19. “People are going to get it. It is very contagious especially in large gatherings,” Reynolds says. “And 80% of the individuals who are going to get it are only going to experience mild or no symptoms so we shouldn’t lose sight of that as well.”

The governor has rejected calls for shutting down food processing facilities in the state. She says keeping meatpacking plant employees on the job is critical to both farmers and to consumers.

The latest COVID-19 statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicate 83 Iowans have died of COVID-19 and the governor says half of them were nursing home residents.