Positive COVID-19 tests at Maple Leaf Foods plants in Hamilton and Brampton

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The two positive coronavirus tests are the first among 13,000 employees

Workers at Maple Leaf Foods plants in Hamilton and Brampton, the company says, have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We informed all of our employees the same day we learned of the positive test results,” a release from Maple Leaf Foods said. “These cases are the first two to occur among Maple Leaf Foods’ 13,000 employees.”

Janet Riley, vice president, of communications and public affairs, said the company learned of the tests on Monday, the same day the results came in, but was unable to say if the company learned of the tests through public health or through the infected employees.

She also did not reveal any information about the two employees.

The company said infected staff are staying at home and anyone who was in contact with them has been directed to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The plant in Hamilton is a prepared meats plant and the Brampton plant deals with fresh poultry. A 2015 document from Maple Leaf Foods says 670 people work at the Hamilton plant. It’s unclear how many people work at the Brampton plant.

The company says it has put in a number of measures amid the pandemic.

“Production at the two sites will continue with our normal, careful, daily sanitation procedures in food production areas and with additional, frequent cleaning of common areas like washrooms, breakrooms and lunch rooms,” reads the statement.

“We are continuing with screening of people coming into our plants and careful efforts to enhance social distancing between employees by converting conference rooms to break rooms, bringing in trailers to decrease the density of employees during breaks and by staggering breaks.”

Hamilton public health has yet to confirm if they are aware of the positive test result.

“We cannot confirm details around COVID-19 cases including workplace or place of residence for privacy reasons,” Kelly Anderson, a city spokesperson, told CBC News.

“We can tell you that for every confirmed case we are conducting detailed case and contact follow up and all contacts will be contacted directly on an individual basis with details on actions they should follow.  Any general questions should go to their local public health unit.”

As of Monday morning, there are 170 people infected with COVID-19 in Hamilton, excluding the local Maple Leaf Foods worker.

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