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Pence to Visit Iowa, Stricken by Virus Outbreak in Meatpackers

Jennifer Jacobs

(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Iowa on Friday, as the state combats coronavirus outbreaks in meatpacking plants that threaten the U.S. food supply.

The state’s governor, Kim Reynolds, will also visit the White House on Wednesday to discuss the outbreak, three people familiar with the matter said.

Pence will “participate in a discussion with faith leaders to encourage houses of worship to responsibly reopen” and visit the headquarters of grocer Hy-Vee Inc. to discuss steps to secure the food supply, his office said in a statement.

The company imposed limits on meat purchases at its stores on Tuesday.

Iowa has reported nearly 1,500 cases of the virus at just three meatpacking plants. At a Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Perry, Iowa, nearly 58% of employees tested for the virus were infected, a state health official said Tuesday.

Prices for wholesale beef and pork have jumped more than 20% since President Donald Trump issued a historic executive order last month to keep meatpackers running during the pandemic.

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