Coronavirus Outbreak At UK Sandwich Factory As Almost 300 Workers Test Positive
A huge number of staff members tested positive for the virus at the Greencore factory, which makes sandwiches for Marks & Spencer, and many employees are now self-isolating.
Greencore said it had started 'proactively' testing workers due to the 'rising number' of cases in the area.
Lucy Wightman, director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, said 79 staff members tested positive through NHS testing, and an additional 213 positive results came from Greencore's private testing.
Greencore said in a statement: "As a result of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Northampton area, we took the decision to start proactively testing all of the colleagues at our Northampton site.
"We can confirm that a number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating.
"We are liaising closely with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, who are fully supportive of the controls that we have on site."
Northampton has been experiencing a high number of cases over the past four weeks, with businesses and workplaces encouraged to work alongside authorities to help stop the spread of the virus.
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In a joint statement, Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire said: "We are working with colleagues at Greencore in Northampton after the discovery of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the workplace.
"Public Health England have been providing support to colleagues at Greencore in managing the outbreak. This has been supplemented by support from the local Infection Prevention and Control team and Northampton Borough Council's environmental health colleagues.
"It is evident that Greencore has highly effective measures in place and they continue to work extremely hard to exceed the requirements needed to be Covid-19 secure within the workplace.
"Northampton borough has been experiencing a high number of cases over the last 4 weeks and residents and employees have been asked to 'act now' to follow additional measures, to avoid a local lockdown or further government intervention."
The statement added that individuals must 'now understand their role in acting responsibly outside of the work environment' in order to protect themselves and those around them.
It said: "The guidance in the workplace is just as important as outside of work.
"If individuals do not take responsibility for following the guidance that we have issued, then further intervention and a possible local lockdown will follow.
"Everyone must be meticulous in following the guidance, especially in social environments where no markers or visual prompts tell you to stay apart, it must become part of our normal and we must all take our individual responsibility seriously."
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