Canada News –
Image: The Canadian Press
The rapid spread of COVID-19 at Canada’s meat-packing plants isn’t a surprise, say union and health officials.
Fabian Murphy, president of the Farming Union, which represents federal meat inspectors, states current safety measures put in location are positive.
However in a meat processing plant, it’s challenging to keep the infection in check if individuals are currently ill.
” If you remain in a meat plant with 2,000 other personnel, you can’t stay six feet away from folks at all times,” Murphy says.
” You’re going to the lunchroom. … You’re going to the locker room to don on or off your clothing and devices.
The toll of COVID-19 on the meat-packing sector continues to grow. A shutdown of an Olymel plant in Quebec was followed by Harmony Foods near Calgary and an enormous Cargill plant near High River, Alta. Cases are continuing to rise at a JBS plant in Brooks, Alta., however that plant stays open.
Murphy states the only way to fix an outbreak in a meat plant is to shut it down for 14 days to offer staff members an opportunity to self-isolate.
Many employees in these plants are foreign workers who send money house to their families. He says the fear of losing a paycheque inspires some to appear for work instead of hiring sick.
” Sadly, we see that in a vulnerable population. They need the additional money and they do not have the option of not going to work.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s primary medical health officer, says several measures were put in place at the Cargill plant to avoid spread of the novel coronavirus– distancing, Plexiglas-glass barriers and personal protective equipment.
” However since there are many people who enter and out of these plants, it is possible that spread did take place before those protective procedures were put into place,” she told reporters earlier this week.
” Much of the people who work there also reside in large homes. Also a lot of them were carpooling to and from work.”
She says a community approach to prevent spread after employees leave a plant are required.
As of Thursday, 440 workers at the Cargill facility had actually checked positive for COVID-19, consisting of one who died, with another 140 cases connected to spread in the community.
At the Brooks plant, there have actually also been 96 cases of workers. The death of a worker and of another individual from the community are likewise being examined to see if they were brought on by the infection.
Hinshaw has said it’s most likely that case numbers from the Cargill and JBS plants will continue to grow.