WINNIPEG — A contract security guard at a pork processing plant in Brandon, Man. has tested positive for COVID-19.
Maple Leaf Foods, the company that runs the plant, said the person is not a Maple Leaf employee and has not been at the plant since April 28.
“We understand from the contract company that the worker believes that he was exposed to a COVID positive acquaintance on April 30, immediately self-quarantined, and received confirmation that he tested positive on May 6,” said Janet Riley, vice president of communications and public affairs at Maple Leaf Foods.
The company said it has consulted with its physician medical advisor and that this is an “extremely low-risk situation” due to the sick person’s low contact job.
“We informed all of our employees immediately and they appeared grateful for our transparency,” said Riley. “We have also notified UFCW Local 832.”
Jeff Traeger, president of UFCW Local 832, said the incident is a reminder to remain vigilant.
So far, the union feels the company is doing its best to protect workers.
“Maple Leaf has implemented almost all of the best practises from across the country at their plant in Brandon and we are working with them to implement new methods of ensuring worker safety as this is the primary concern for UFCW,” said Traeger.
Although unlikely, if an outbreak does occur at the plant, the union would call for a shutdown.
“Given what has happened in other provinces, we would be calling for a plant shut down for a two week period with full compensation to all employees in the event of an outbreak at any of the plants we represent in Manitoba,” said Traeger.
Maple Leaf Foods said the plant is operating normally, and no employees in Brandon have developed COVID-19.
OTHER MEAT PLANTS
In Alberta, a Cargill meat processing plant in High River saw 949 cases of COVID-19, including one death of an employee. The virus forced a two-week shutdown of the facility, which ended on May 4.
In Quebec, an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Les Aliments Cargill meat processing plant in Chambly also forced the temporary closure of the Monteregie plant about 30 kilometres south of Montreal.
Many other meat plants across the country have been affected by COVID-19 as well.
As of right now, all meat plants in Manitoba are outbreak free.
-With files from CTV’s Sarah Turnbull and Brooklyn Neustaeter
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