A poultry processing plant in east London, Ont., resumed operations on Friday after it grappled with one of the city’s largest workplace outbreaks of COVID-19.
Cargill halted production at its London facility last week after dozens of employees tested positive for the virus.
Cargill said at the time that the production pause was taken “out of an abundance of caution,” adding that employees would receive a weekly guarantee of 36 hours of pay during the shutdown.
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On Thursday, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) Dr. Chris Mackie said the latest case count stood at 116 infections among a total of roughly 900 employees.
“We don’t have a tally of the number of secondary cases,” Mackie said.
“That’s, again, part of the limitations when we’re having an average of over 100 cases (in the region) per day, we’re unfortunately not able to do as detailed of contact tracing as we normally would.”
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Mackie said London and Middlesex County has seen about 200 workplace COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the pandemic. Cargill’s outbreak ranked among one of the largest.
“Cargill would be the second-largest, the largest was the (London Health Sciences Centre) outbreak that happened in sort of November, December of last year,” Mackie said.
“After Cargill, you’re probably talking about some of the larger Western outbreaks, which wouldn’t be workplace outbreaks necessarily.”
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In a statement sent to Global News, Cargill says Friday’s reopening had the support of the MLHU.
“We have taken time during the idle to conduct a full, deep-clean of the facility,” Cargill said.
“We have also closed locker rooms, removed microwaves from the cafeteria and taken other additional steps to respond to the community-wide impacts of the virus.”
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