NORTH CAROLINA, Raleigh- After the publication in Enlace Latino NC of the article “North Carolina Department of Agriculture says asymptomatic Farmworkers exposed to COVID-19 must continue working," on Sep 8, 2020, Department of Agriculture representatives contacted this publication to point out some inaccuracies and clarify information included in the story.
The story in question addressed a statement--which was not dated--by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, which generated outrage among social organizations defending rural worker’ rights.
In his statement, Commissioner Troxler "stated" that "all rural workers, including but not limited to Christmas tree farm workers", are considered "critical infrastructure workers"; according to a protocol developed by the Center for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Labor.
Troxler's statement also quoted a guideline published by the CDC, which stated that critical infrastructure workers "may be allowed" to continue working after potential exposure to COVID-19; provided they remained asymptomatic and implemented additional precautions to protect themselves and the community.
As the Department of Agriculture Director of Public Affairs, Andrea Ashby, pointed out in an email sent to Enlace Latino NC, the story had two inaccuracies; First, it mistaken the Commissioner Troxler’s statement for the guide published by the CDC, which was being quoted by the Commissioner. Secondly, the headline said that asymptomatic farm workers exposed to Covid-19 "must" continue working. The CDC guide stated that "critical infrastructure" employees "can be allowed" to continue working.
To be fair, which is Enlace Latino NC's fundamental value, we are publishing this statement to correct the inaccuracies N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler pointed out.