Council leaders and factory bosses meet today amid Banham Poultry coronavirus outbreak
PUBLISHED: 12:44 27 August 2020
Meetings will be held today to look at ways of supporting workers struck down by a covid-19 outbreak at a Norfolk factory and to ensure it doesn’t spread elsewhere in the community.
After 347 tests were done on workers at the Attleborough-based Banham Poultry factory, 75 have come back positive.
Cases have been linked to employees in the cutting room and the area was temporarily shut down on August 26, according to Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council.
Other areas in the factory remain open.
Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk, he said 350 workers are isolating.
The outbreak has been classed as “nationally significant” and the case is being reviewed by the government’s chief medical officer.
Mr Chapman-Allen said bosses from the factory, owned by Chesterfield Poultry, will meet with leaders from Breckland Council and other local authorities from across Norfolk on August 27 to discuss how they will help workers, many of whom live in houses of multiple occupancy, are self-isolating.
He added the infection rate across Norfolk and Breckland was being “constantly monitored”.
“We have taken appropriate steps,” Mr Chapman-Allen said. “We will continue to review the evidence across Breckland. Norfolk and the wider region at the time will take appropriate action.
“Throughout the pandemic the local authorities stepped up in quick order to support those in need. It is no different now.
“There is no indication of a rise in infection in Breckland and Norfolk.”
He added it was important for people to remember the basics of hand washing and wearing a mask.
The council leader said local authorities continued to support businesses in terms of their internal coronavirus risk assessments.
“We will share key information from the Banham Poultry incident,” Mr Chapman-Allen added.
Dr Louise Smith, director of Public Health England in Norfolk, said “there was no evidence of increased risk to the general public” in relation to the virus spreading through food packaging from the factory.
She added the majority of the workers who had tested positive lived in Breckland, Great Yarmouth and Norwich.
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