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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic persists in the United States. Without a vaccine or effective treatment available, it’s expected that cases will rise, and commercial bakeries will not be exempt. Because bakeries already are spaced out, not many have been hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks, but as the pandemic has shown, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.

As bakeries develop their COVID-19 contingency plans, shutting down operations for an outbreak should be a part of their strategy. In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, Jaime Correa, chief executive officer of AbiMar Foods, Abilene, Texas, shared the company’s experience closing its facilities when an outbreak was detected. On April 10, the company had five positive COVID-19 cases, and after considering the possibility of asymptomatic carriers, it shut down the facilities, conducted mass testing and sent everyone home while they waited for results.

“The outbreak was detected because we made the decision to test 100% of our employees,” Mr. Correa explained. “At that time, we had just five people who were positive, but we knew that considering asymptomatic people, you can multiply the cases by 10. That’s the normal trend seen in New York. And that’s how we found the outbreak.”

Within a week, the test results showed that 10% of the company’s workforce had the virus, and the outbreak plan was put into action. Listen to this episode to hear what that plan entailed, the resources Mr. Correa found to be helpful and how AbiMar Foods was able to reopen its facilities.

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