Coronavirus confirmed at Cornwall food factory

EXTRA coronavirus testing has been brought in at a food factory in Pool after an outbreak there.

Public Health England (PHE) South West and Cornwall Council confirmed that there had been “a small number of confirmed cases of Covid-19” at Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd.

The cases were discovered as part of the enhanced contact tracing service put in place by Cornwall Council’s public health team, the council said.

Anyone identified as a close contact linked to the positive cases will be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.

The council said: “If you are contacted, you should only get tested if you go on to develop symptoms. Even if you test negative, you must still self-isolate for 14 days.

“There will be additional testing taking place on site over the weekend for employees only. These measures are preventative and will provide vital data to help stop the spread of the virus.”

A spokesperson for Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd said: “Safety is a condition within our business.

“Since March when Covid-19 restrictions were first introduced, we have been following government guidelines for food processing sites and we have updated them as and when amendments have been made.

“Furthermore, we have implemented additional measures where they bring benefit including the installation of thermal cameras. We audit compliance of all our Covid-19 controls daily to drive up standards.

“As leading food processing operations, all our sites follow strict hygiene controls including barrier controls and intense daily cleaning regimes.

“In addition, at Pool the Health and Safety Executive carried out an inspection earlier this week and fed back that they were satisfied with measures implemented on site to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We are working closely with PHE South West and Cornwall Council to arrange swab testing for a sample group in one particular area of production before deciding upon the need for any further screening. As soon as we receive test results, we will liaise with health partners to assess whether further actions are necessary.”

Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council’s director of public health, said: “We are working with the factory owners, PHE SW and our NHS partners to provide public health advice and help stop the spread of the virus.

“Employees who need to isolate have already been excluded from work and given support to isolate.

“The business is conscientious in its approach to Covid-19 controls.

“We have been discussing their ongoing measures to ensure it is safe for staff to attend work as normal. However, if anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away.”

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