Union satisfied by company responses to latest meat plant outbreaks

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“The company is showing a measure of co-operation, certainly,” Hesse said. “Our representatives have had a presence in the plant, there’s been testing happening … and the plant is well-fitted with PPE.”

In an emailed statement, Cargill spokesman Daniel Sullivan said the Calgary plant remains operational at full capacity, and there have been no new cases since the last confirmed case on Aug. 10.

“At this time there are no known workplace links between the five active cases,” Sullivan said. “These individuals were not in regular contact with one another or working in the same areas.”

Last week, a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in an employee at an Olymel meat processing facility in Red Deer. Thirteen employees were sent home as a precautionary measure and are in the process of being tested for the virus.

“It’s very encouraging because nine have already received their test, with negative results,” said Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault, who added Occupational Health and Safety visited the site on Tuesday and did not recommend the company take any other action, other than the health and safety measures already in place.

Hesse said UFCW Local 401 has been pleased with Olymel’s response to the positive case, which is the first case of COVID-19 at the Red Deer plant since the pandemic began. He said the company has had aggressive health and safety measures in place since early spring, including very expansive PPE provisions and the rearranging of workstations to ensure physical distancing.

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