13 workers from Olymel plant in Red Deer test negative for COVID-19

They are expected to return to work as soon as Friday morning

Thirteen workers from the Olymel pork-processing plant in Red Deer have tested negative for COVID-19, after one worker tested positive last week.

The plant, which employs more than 1,500 central Albertans, recorded its first confirmed case of the virus and as a result 13 people were sent home as a precaution.

“They can come back to work tomorrow morning,” company spokesman Richard Vigneault said on Thursday.

“We took all the appropriate measures to test the people who could have been in contact with the person (who tested positive). All 13 people tested negative, so we’re satisfied with that of course.

“We hope the employee (who tested positive) will recover soon.”

Vigneault said while it’s a relief these 13 tested negative, the plant will continue to apply “the very rigorous measures” that were put in place in March to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are very serious about those measures, we are writing many notes and providing a lot of information to our employees on the importance of keeping those sanitary measures in place, the importance of keeping social distance and using all the means in their disposal to respect the social distance,” Vigneault said, adding that as long as the virus is in Alberta and Canada, these measures will remain in place.

“We’ve received very good cooperation from our employees in Red Deer. They’re really respectful of the measures, they’re informed … and they really follow the measures in place seriously to avoid the spreading of the virus.”

The employee who tested positive came into work without COVID-19 symptoms on Aug. 10. During the day, she began to show symptoms and was told to go home and get tested. The worker was swabbed for the virus the next day and got a positive result two days later.

The company did contact tracing and sent home five or six other employees from the plant on the Friday. As an extra precaution, more people who might have had some contact with the infected worker were sent home this past Monday, for a total of 13 people.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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