ANGOLA — The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has trended younger this past week, quite possibly due to the number of people tested at Miller Poultry in Orland.

Miller had 136 people test positive for COVID-19. This came after tests results came back positive for seven people on April 30 then the company decided to test all employees on May 1-2.

The majority of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in the 20-49 age range, a shift from previous demographic data provided from the Steuben County Health Department, which showed the majority of positives in the 40 and up range.

There are 12 people between 20-29, 21 between 30-39 and 11 between 40-49 who have tested positive. Of the 63 positive tests in the county, those three age groups added together represent almost 70% of the total.

Before testing at Miller, in the data released April 24, most of the positive tests were in the 60-69 age range with seven. The 50-59 and 70-79 age groups are next with three apiece. Those have increased to eight for 60-69, and four apiece for 50-50 and 70-79, or about 25% of the total positive tests.

In most locales, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 are older than 60. When Steuben County reports new numbers they are reported as positive cases in patients either younger or older than 60.

Also due to the mass testing last week at Miller, when 791 people were tested for COVID-19, testing has jumped significantly in Steuben County, hitting a total of 1,278 on Friday, said data from the Health Department. In other words, 62% of the COVID-19 tests administered in Steuben County were at Miller Poultry.

While the testing numbers are high because of Miller, the number of Steuben County residents who were tested is much lower. That’s because where a person gets tested is counted in a county’s data, no matter where they reside. However, if the person tests positive, it is counted in their county of residence. Miller had 136 people test positive for COVID-19, about 17% of its workforce, yet only some 32 positive cases were recorded in Steuben County after the testing at Miller. Officials would not say how many cases from Miller make up the county’s 63 total.

At Miller, employees hail from eight counties in Indiana and Michigan. Of the plant’s workforce, 25% is from Steuben County and 50% are from Allen County with the remainder from the other six.

Miller closed on Monday then brought production back up to 70% on Tuesday and continued that pace the rest of the week. If all goes as planned, production will resume at full capacity on Monday, said Kevin Diehl, vice president of plant operations.
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