More than 170 people test positive for coronavirus at meat factory in Cornwall

MORE than 170 people have tested positive for coronavirus at a meat processing plant in Cornwall.

Most of those who tested positive at the Pilgrim's Pride factory in Pool were asymptomatic, the local public health team said.

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An alert to the national test and trace service from one staff member ultimately led to 500 employees at the plant getting tested.

The firm has said it has introduced additional measures and checks its compliance with Covid-19 controls on a daily basis.

Covid-19 outbreaks in factories have been reported across the UK.

At the beginning of September, staff at a Tesco warehouse in West Lothian, Scotland were self-isolation after cases were confirmed.

In Swindon, another 51 staff at an Iceland warehouse in had tested positive for coronavirus in July.

And in August, 100 workers at a chicken factory in Norfolk also became infected with Covid.

In Northern Ireland, Cranswick Country Foods shut for a deep clean following the cluster of coronavirus cases among their staff members.

Health Minister Robin Swann said 35 cases had been identified at the meat plant – which has 500 workers.

A spokesperson for Pilgrim's Pride added: "From the outset we have worked conscientiously to do all we can to protect our workforce and the local community.

"Our teams have been working extremely hard in collaboration with the local authority and public health to manage this challenging situation, and have bravely conducted themselves with professionalism and integrity as they continue to play their important role in maintaining the UK food supply chain."

Rachel Wigglesworth, interim director for Public Health for Cornwall Council, said: "Our team has been working tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic, and have strengthened our local Covid-19 contact tracing approach to help detect cases early, prevent spread and support people to self-isolate.

"We've quickly identified and tested hundreds of people, and in finding people who weren't displaying symptoms we have potentially stopped much wider spread in our communities.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and appreciate the cooperation of Pilgrim's Pride Ltd. and their employees."

Coronavirus cases in the South West remain relatively low.

In the seven days up to September 27, there was an infection rate of 31.5 per 100,000 people in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, with 180 positive cases.

This was up from a prevalence of 20.1 per 100,00 people the week before.

 

 

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