A cluster of COVID-19 cases has been detected at Pilgrim’s Pride’s pork processing factory at Pool, near Redruth, in Cornwall.
Public Health England (PHE) South West and Cornwall Council said they were aware of a ‘small number of confirmed cases of COVID-19’, which were discovered as part of the enhanced contact tracing service put in place by the council’s public health team.
No figure has been given on the number of cases at the plant, but local media have reported that it is contributing to a spike of cases in the area.
There was additional testing on site over the weekend for Pilgrim’s Pride employees only, which were described as ‘preventative’. Anyone identified as a close contact linked to the positive cases will be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and those contacted are advised to get tested if they go on to develop symptoms.
Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are working with the factory owners, PHE SW and our NHS partners to provide public health advice and help stop the spread of the virus. Employees who need to isolate have already been excluded from work and given support to isolate.
“The business is conscientious in its approach to Covid-19 controls. We have been discussing their ongoing measures to ensure it is safe for staff to attend work as normal. However, if anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away.”
A spokesperson from Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd, formerly Tulip, said: “Safety is a condition within our business. Since March when Covid-19 restrictions were first introduced, we have been following government guidelines for food processing sites and we have updated them as and when amendments have been made.
“Furthermore, we have implemented additional measures where they bring benefit including the installation of thermal cameras. We audit compliance of all our Covid-19 controls daily to drive up standards.
“As leading food processing operations, all our sites follow strict hygiene controls including barrier controls and intense daily cleaning regimes.”
“In addition, at Pool the Health and Safety Executive carried out an inspection earlier this week and fed back that they were satisfied with measures implemented on site to help stop the spread of coronavirus.”