All 13 workers sent home from Red Deer meat plant test negative for COVID-19

Thirteen employees who were sent home from the Olymel facility in Red Deer after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19 last week received their test results Thursday.

Spokesperson Richard Vigneault told Global News all 13 workers tested negative.

Read more: 13 workers sent home after confirmed COVID-19 case at Red Deer meat-processing plant

One employee was at work on Monday, Aug. 10 when she reported having symptoms. She was immediately sent home, was tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday and got a positive test result on Thursday.

“Following the discovery of this first case, the company set in motion its detection protocol and asked 13 employees who may have been in contact with their colleague who tested positive to stay at home and take the steps to pass a virus detection test,” Olymel added in a statement to Global News.

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“At the end of this procedure, all 13 employees tested obtained negative results and will therefore be able to resume their work shortly.”

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Vigneault said the 13 workers would start returning to their regular shifts Friday morning.

“The only employee who tested positive remains in isolation and Olymel wishes her a quick recovery,” the company statement reads.

READ MORE: 2 Alberta meat plants affected by COVID-19 make up 70% of Canada’s beef processing capabilities

The one positive case confirmed on Aug. 14 was the company’s first COVID-19 case at the pork plant in Red Deer, which employees more than 1,600 people.

In early March, the Olymel plant in Red Deer implemented health and safety measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus including temperature checks, regular disinfection of common areas, adjusting schedules to avoid staff crossing, social distancing equipment, masks, face shields and plexiglass dividers.

READ MORE: JBS beef plant in Alberta returning to 2 shifts per day after COVID-19 outbreak

Olymel said Alberta public health authorities and Occupational Health and Safety visited the Red Deer site after the Aug. 14 case was confirmed. Officials toured the plant on Aug. 18 “and were satisfied with the measures put in place,” the company said.

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“The Olymel Red Deer facility is therefore continuing its operations while maintaining in place the numerous sanitary measures aimed at countering the spread of the COVID-19 virus and allowing its employees to stay healthy.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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