Employee at Fort Macleod processing plant tests positive for COVID-19

Bouvry Exports issued a letter to its staff on April 29, stating that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19.

The facility is located just off Highway 3 near Fort Macloed, Alta.

It processes roughly 1,000 animals a week, with about 150 employees on a shift.

The company declined an interview with Global News, but the director of operations, Eliot Bouvry, said several safety measures have been put in place, like temperature checks and hand sanitizer being used before anyone enters the building, and increased cleaning of all touch points.

In a statement, Alberta Health Services confirmed the COVID-19 case and said, during an inspection of the plant on April 28, “…It advised of necessary precautions that must be implemented to immediately address concerns with social distancing and infection prevention and control measures.”

Bouvry said workers have not been using masks because the company has not been able to find any for six weeks. Two-hundred disposable masks arrived Wednesday but that amount doesn’t even cover one day.

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AHS issued a statement Thursday about the masks, which reads: “AHS does not supply individuals with personal protective equipment (PPE); AHS is supplying PPE to our hospitals and health-care centers, as well as to physician offices, long-term care, continuing care and seniors lodges, EMS, compounding pharmacists, midwives and contracted providers.”

A second AHS inspection was conducted Thursday, along with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Occupational Health and Safety. The plant is allowed to continue operations while following OHS orders. It was not immediately clear what those orders are.

Bouvry has asked AHS to test every employee but was told that’s not possible. AHS says testing is being offered to all symptomatic workers and an asymptomatic testing strategy is being considered.

Bouvry said the employee is now quarantined at home as is any employee who has close contact with the individual.

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