Latest numbers of positive cases at Cranswick meat factory to be revealed

The Cranswick Country Foods factory in Watton, where there has been a coronavirus outbreak. Picture:

The Cranswick Country Foods factory in Watton, where there has been a coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Public health officials are today expected to reveal the latest number of workers who have tested positive at a meat factory in Norfolk.

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Watton High street. Pictures: ARCHANT

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Watton High street. Pictures: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Dozens more positive cases among workers at Cranswick Country Foods, in Watton, look likely following extensive testing this week.

The town’s Covid-19 infection rate already stands at 1200 cases per 100,000 people - the ninth-highest out of 6700 areas in England and more than five times the national average.

Breckland’s rate for the seven days up to October 23 had risen to 172.2, almost trebling from the previous week (59.3).

Norfolk County Council said it would not yet elaborate on how the increasingly bleak situation could impact the wider area, insisting further updates would be provided at a press conference today.

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Testing Centre. Pictures: ARCHANT

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Testing Centre. Pictures: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant


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That will be led by Norfolk’s director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, who said earlier this week that contact tracing in Watton was being “stepped up” in response to the crisis.

News of the meat processing factory’s ever-worsening outbreak came to light on Monday, when the county council confirmed 140 staff members had contracted the virus.

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That revelation emerged 11 days after it was reported a “small number” of employees had returned a positive result, with Cranswick narrowing down the figure to “less than 10”.

But latest statistics show an outbreak in Breckland had already intensified by October 20, when 24 new cases were registered in a single day.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, will provide an update on the coronavirus ou

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, will provide an update on the coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick, in Watton, on Thursday. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

Moreover, a total of 36 new positive tests were reported in Watton in the seven days up to October 22.

Meanwhile, the immediate fate of the Brandon Road factory itself remains unclear, with Cranswick stating it was awaiting directives from the Department of Health and Social Care regarding a potential closure.

On Monday a spokesman said the company envisaged “disruption to the full operation of the plant in the short term.”

Elsewhere yesterday, it was confirmed by Bristol’s mayor that the city - which, like Norfolk, had been in Tier 1 - is set to adopt a ‘Tier 1 plus’ approach in a bid to avoid tighter measures.

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Signs on Watton High street. Pictures: ARCHANT

Coronavirus outbreak at Cranswick factory in Watton. Signs on Watton High street. Pictures: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

It would see the introduction of eight full-time Covid marshals in the busiest areas.

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