Red Deer’s Olymel pork-processing plant has its first case of a worker who is infected with COVID-19. A total of 13 employees were sent home as a precaution, to get tested. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s Olymel pork plant has first worker test positive for COVID-19

13 employees were sent home as a precaution

Thirteen workers from the Olymel pork-processing plant in Red Deer were sent home after one worker tested positive for COVID-19.

The plant that employs over 1,500 local people has recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19, said Richard Vigneault, the company spokesman.

“Strong measures have been in place since March, but this tell us we have to be very prudent,” he added.

Vigneault says a worker at their Red Deer facility came to work without symptoms of the novel coronavirus last Monday, Aug. 10. But at some point during the day, the woman began to show symptoms and was told to go home and get tested.

She was swabbed for the virus on Tuesday of last week, and on Thursday she got a positive result, Vigneault said

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

He added they were not showing symptoms of COVID-19 but were told to get tested.

Olymel officials have notified all employees at the facility of the situation and other “partners” such as Occupational Health and Safety were also notified, he added.

Vigneault says extensive measures were enacted at the Red Deer plant in March to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak, as have happened at other meat processing facilities in the province. He maintains these protective measures will, of course, now continue.

Vigneault expects to know more about the workers’ health status later this week when test results arrive.

Coronavirus

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