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COVID-19 cases reported at 2 more B.C. poultry plants
VANCOUVER -- Workers at two more poultry processing facilities in British Columbia have tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the president of Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, Ken Falk, an employee began self isolating on Friday.
The employee's condition worsened over the weekend and a test showing the positive COVID-19 result came back Tuesday evening.
“We’ve made the decision ourselves that we would close down,” said Falk as the company decided its next steps.
There is no formal order from Fraser Health for the facility to close, but the company said it is cooperating with the health authority.
Fraser Health was unable to comment on the extent of its involvement until there is an official outbreak of two or more cases.
Falk said the infected employee works in a department with about 60 to 70 other workers.
He explained he prefers everyone be tested.
On Wednesday, Sofina Foods Inc. in Port Coquitlam also confirmed one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Markham Ontario owned company said all other employees who came in contact with the infected worker have been asked to stay home.
The plant said it remains operational.
The company also said it had proactive measures already in place before the case was identified.
It sanitizes work areas regularly, added plexiglas partitions in its lunch rooms and its employees wear protective equipment.
Sofina Foods also said it implemented physical distancing very early on in the pandemic.
“We are confident that we had the right measures in place to help mitigate risks to other employees," said plant manager Kuljeet Chahal.
There are currently two other COVID-19 outbreaks at B.C. poultry processing facilities, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
There are now 46 cases of COVID-19 associated with Superior Poultry Processing Ltd. in Coquitlam and 34 associated with United Poultry Ltd. in East Vancouver.
“This is serious for the industry,” said Falk.
“Having too many plants closed at once would really become a challenge.”
Products that were supposed to go through the affected plants have been redirected to other facilities in the province.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food and no recalls have been issued for poultry products in B.C.