October 6, 2020 4.58 pm This story is over 37 months old

COVID-19 outbreak at Lincolnshire gammon factory

Mobile unit now on site testing staff

A mobile testing unit was put on site on Tuesday after a coronavirus outbreak at a bacon and gammon slicing factory in Scunthorpe.

At least 10 cases have been reported at Karro Food Group’s pork processing plant on the Foxhills Industrial Estate.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19, or people working near to a colleague or having extended close contact, have been sent home to self-isolate.

A site visit was carried out by environmental health and public health officers on Friday and a few improvements were suggested, which Karro implemented on Monday.

Numerous employees at the facility reported a spate of cases over the last week which it says were acquired through ‘community contact’, according to Scunthorpe Live.

That report also claims that employees said they were told not to wear masks and that “staff are dropping like flies and being sent home”.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Karro Food Limited is working closely with North Lincolnshire’s Public Health Team, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive who continue to offer guidance and support.

“Karro has always, and will continue to, follow government advice and guidelines which do everything possible to protect its people, including allowing its employees to choose to wear face coverings if it is deemed safe to do so.

“Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those identified as working near to a colleague or having extended close contact have been sent home to self-isolate for the required time as a precaution and preventative measure.

“A mobile testing unit is now on site and all employees can be tested for Covid-19. All close contacts with confirmed cases will be contacted by NHS test and trace and anyone displaying symptoms will self-isolate and book a test.”

North Lincolnshire Council said: “Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive, and the management of Karro are working together to contain an outbreak at the company’s site in Scunthorpe.

“Karro had stringent COVID-19 measures in place, including social distancing, cleaning regimes and even automatically checking the temperature of every employee before entry to the factory. Despite this there have been a number of employees test positive for COVID-19.

“The early warning system to alert public health officials was triggered on Friday last week and urgent meetings were set up with the company’s management, public health and the Health and Safety Executive.

“A site visit was carried out by environmental health and public health officers on Friday. Overall the procedures were found to be sound but a few improvements were suggested. Karro implemented these on Monday.

“All employees that tested positive are self-isolating. All close contacts with these people are being contacted by NHS test and trace. Anyone displaying symptoms, even if they are not contacted, must self-isolate and book a test.

“A mobile testing unit was placed on site on Tuesday. The evidence from these tests will inform any future decisions by the company and authorities need to take.”