Extra COVID cases amongst Manitoba meat plant employees, but no closure planned

BRANDON, Man. — Manitoba’s high doctor says stricter regional restrictions are which that you might imagine as a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the province’s second-finest metropolis grew to 64, with more than a third them workers at a hog-processing plant.
Maple Leaf Foods said Monday that 23 of its employees in Brandon had examined obvious for COVID-19, though neither the corporate nor public wisely being officers salvage the virus has been spreading within the attach of job.
Manitoba reported 16 new cases on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 558. There are currently 196 active infections.
Chief Scientific Officer Brent Roussin said there might be some proof of neighborhood transmission in Brandon, though most cases are linked to a known provide.
“Our reach is to no longer hang frequent restrictions, (but to) hang a technique more surgical reach,” Roussin said.
“So we haven’t been one thing else specifically honest now. That’s continuously obviously on the table.”
He said officers were carefully monitoring the Maple Leaf plant, though there’s nothing to imply virus unfold within the power.
“The company is going previous public wisely being suggestions and is having an even bigger series of workers self-isolating than what was immediate by public wisely being,” Roussin said.
“We’re in fashioned dialog with the corporate, which has been somewhat co-operative and continues to piece facts with us.”
Maple Leaf vice-president Janet Riley said pandemic protocols consist of on each day basis wisely being and temperature screening, compulsory face coverings and social distancing.
“Public wisely being officers strengthen our note that our attach of job stays safe and that there might be no longer any motive to stoop operations,” she said in an emailed observation.
“Simply keep, in step with the total proof, COVID-19 is no longer being unfold at our plant. It is crucial to expose that 144 individuals of our Brandon plant team hang examined adverse for COVID-19.”
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, which represents 2,000 Maple Leaf employees, has been calling for a fleet end to operations until eminent COVID-19 checks for known virus contacts come motivate.
Union president Jeff Traeger said one of the most most obvious cases were amongst folks working the the same shift in the the same division at Maple Leaf.
“And so I feel it’s either a in fact tough twist of fate or per chance they haven’t gotten it honest — I don’t know.”
Both reach, he said the plant must fetch a live given what number of workers carpool and derive public transit to and from work.
Traeger said as an alternative of refusing a shutdown, Maple Leaf has done an even job appearing on suggestions to manufacture operations safer. He added the corporate, union and authorities are discussing constructing testing at the plant.
He said the union is making an strive to steer clear of the “worst-case scenario” viewed at the Cargill cattle slaughterhouse south of Calgary this spring, the build virtually half the staff examined obvious for COVID-19.
Traeger said workers, many of whom came to Canada as non permanent foreign workers, are “fully worried.”
“An incredible, tremendous share of them hang contacted the union administrative heart seeking to search out a reach to no longer wander to work, but useless to screech they’ve all purchased bills to pay.”
Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest said the Maple Leaf plant is by some distance the finest finest non-public employer in the neighborhood, but he would strengthen a non permanent closure if public wisely being officers deemed it compulsory.
The the same goes to any which that you might imagine broader lockdowns for the plan.
“In some unspecified time in the future of this, we hang deferred to public wisely being consultants to in fact present the path and we’ve fastidiously and intentionally adopted their lead from the very beginning of the pandemic,” Chrest said in an interview.
“These folks hang the journey and the potential and practising and journey to be ready to steer us on this.”
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
This file by The Canadian Press was first printed on August 10, 2020

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