Nearly 100 employees test positive for coronavirus at chicken factory in Norfolk
NEARLY 100 workers at a chicken factory in Norfolk have tested positive for coronavirus.
A further 16 people tested positive for Covid-19 at Banham Poultry since Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 96.
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Last Friday the cutting room at the factory closed after the company voluntarily agreed to shut part of its operations and advised 350 staff to go into isolation.
In an update today, Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk council's director of public health told the Eastern Daily Press that the factory had been deep cleaned and mobile testing units were on site carrying out testing.
Several workers are believed to have reported to the James Paget University Hospital in Norfolk.
Dr Smith added: “Following the Covid 19 outbreak in the cutting room at Banham Poultry, we announced last Friday that we were expanding testing to staff working across the rest of the site.
“Staff and their households, including children, must self-isolate for 14 days, if they have not tested positive or not been tested.
"Staff must isolate for 10 days if they have had a positive test result, and their households, including children, need to isolate for 14 days.
"Anyone who has not been tested is urged to apply for a test and more mobile units are being brought in to support this."
After last week's outbreak, Dr Smith said the vast majority of cases in the factory had occurred among staff working in the cutting room – where slaughtered chickens are chopped into specific cuts – and the number of cases elsewhere in the factory were low.
Banham Poultry managing director Blaine van Rensburg said: “The safety of our staff, customers, and the wider public is really important to us.
"We are working with public health authorities to make sure we are doing absolutely everything we can and following all of the correct procedures.
"The business remains open and operating and we are doing everything we can to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“We have already invested in a range of procedures and protective equipment to keep our staff as safe as possible.”
In figures published on Friday, SAGE reported that Norfolk has an "R" rate between 0.8 and 1.
The processing plant is in Breckland which has just 5.02 cases per 100,000 people, around half the average for England which has 10.68.
It's the latest food processing plant to report an outbreak, sparking fears over the spread of Covid-19 in chilled factories.
An outbreak at a chicken factory in Scotland hit more than 150 people with a further 42 positive tests.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases linked to the 2 Sisters food processing plant in Coupar Angus, Perthshire reached 152 – with 134 employees and 18 of their contacts affected.
As a result of the plant's shutdown, 110,000 chickens will be slaughtered, it's reported.
Meanwhile, four workers at a medical factory that make products vital in the fight against Covid-19, have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Sun Online has contacted Banham Poultry for comment.
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