A number of COVID-19 cases have been reported at a Shropshire food processing firm which is being dealt with by health officials.
Shropshire Council is working with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and ABP Food Group, who have meat processing plants in Shrewsbury and Ellesmere.
They are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Food Standards Agency (FSA), following confirmation of cases of COVID-19 at the company.
The news follows cases of COVID-19 at other meat processing plants where hundreds of workers have tested positive for coronavirus at processing plants in Wrexham, Anglesey, Llangefni and Merthyr Tydfil.
Cases among the workforce
Dr Adrian Phillips, PHE Midlands Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, said:
“The management at ABP Food Group is co-operating fully with public health professionals and members of the HSE and FSA, to protect the health and wellbeing of their workforce.
“As we would expect at this stage of a pandemic, there have been cases among the workforce, as the virus is present in the local community. The company put extensive measures in place from the start of the pandemic, and public health partners are working with the business to assess if any further measures should be implemented in the workplace and looking at the picture in the wider community.”
A spokesperson from ABP Food Group said:
“The health and wellbeing of our staff is of the utmost importance, so we have been keen to co-operate in whatever way possible with PHE, the council, the FSA and HSE.
“As soon as restrictions were announced by the Government, we put extensive measures in place to reduce the risk of our staff catching COVID-19, many of which went above and beyond the national guidance, including the installation of Perspex screens at workstations and provision of PPE, including visors.”
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:
“The health and safety of our communities is our absolute key priority.
“We are aware of the cases of COVID-19 at ABP Foods and are working with Public Health England to support the company. A rapid response is providing vital information to help minimise the further spread of the virus in Shropshire.
“At this time, we would also like to remind everyone to follow the current Government guidance on social distancing, minimising their social interaction with other people, maintaining good hand hygiene by washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Adhering to this advice is the best protection against the virus. Please stay safe, be responsible and together we can reduce the spread of this coronavirus.”
In line with NHS guidance, any affected individuals are being asked to self-isolate at home for seven days, with members of their households to isolate for 14 days.