Covid cases at Cranswick Country Foods up to 256

The Cranswick factory in Watton. Picture: ARCHANT

The Cranswick factory in Watton. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The number of workers who have tested positive for coronavirus after an outbreak at Cranswick Country Foods in Watton has risen to 256 - but public health bosses are not expecting the numbers to significantly increase further.

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The outbreak was centred on the factory’s butchery, which was where the bulk of those who had tested positive worked and who had been self-isolating since Friday last week.

Norfolk County Council has carried out further tests on other parts of the business.

The council said there had not been any positive tests from staff working in the abattoir, which has remained operational, but some working in retail and support functions had tested positive.

In total, of 1,077 tests, there were 256 positive tests, including the initial ones in the butchery, and 758 negative test results.

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Dr Louise Smith, public health director for Norfolk County Council, said: “The company has been asked to ensure that staff who have tested positive, including in the retail section, have been asked to self-isolate and to undertake contact tracing risk assessments with those staff to identify close contacts, both work-related and household.

“We understand that work has been done and that those individuals, plus close contacts are self-isolating.

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“We’re not anticipating the numbers for Cranswick will rise significantly further, because the ongoing work we are doing with the factory now are to mop up loose ends.” She said there were about 60 workers whose results were still to be confirmed, for instance, if swabbing failed and re-testing was needed.

The first positive cases in the butchery department were confirmed on October 15 and testing was brought in five days later, with the number of positive cases up to 248 as of last Friday.

Mobile stations were put in place in Watton for the town’s population to obtain Covid-19 tests after the outbreak.

Norfolk County Council had also been dealing with positive cases at Snack Creations in Great Yarmouth, part of the Pasta Foods group.

Dr Smith said there had been 25 positive test results in one specific area there, as of November 4.

She said: “We were very impressed with the interventions Pasta Foods and Snack Creations had already taken. They have done the contact tracing, asked people to isolate and ensured testing of those cohorts of staff.

“Parts of the factory were closed and deep cleaned and they are now operating with a skeleton staff.”

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