42 cases of Covid-19 identified at Wexford meat plant

42 cases of Covid-19 identified at Wexford meat plant

42 CASES of Covid-19 have been identified in a single meat processing plant in County Wexford.

Slaney Foods in Bunclody, County Wexford, confirmed the large outbreak was identified on Friday after the company tested staff for the virus.

The company has "significantly reduced capacity" as a result of the cluster of cases, a spokesperson said.

The plant told RTÉ News in a statement that "In line with Covid-19 protocols, all close contacts of those impacted are currently self-isolating, adding "staff safety and public health is our priority and Slaney Foods will continue to work with the HSE in relation to the matter."

The spokesperson told the outlet that they had implemented a wide range of measures to stop their staff becoming sick since the pandemic reached Irish shores, including temperature checks, staggered break times, social distancing measures and protocols for anyone who has symptoms or is a close contact.

The spokesperson would not comment directly when questioned by RTÉ if any of the cases were associated with travel, but said they have "in place strict foreign travel protocols for all staff regardless of their nationality.

"Any staff member who has travelled abroad must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine before returning to work and during that time they must undergo two PCR Covid-19 tests at appropriate intervals."

86 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed yesterday County Wexford, the third-highest number in the country.

During the summer, when Ireland's incidence rate was as low as 7 per 100,000 people, a number of high-profile outbreaks occurred in meat processing plants, with an industry expert admitting just 20% of factories in Ireland offer sick pay to staff, making it more difficult to remain at home if they had symptoms.

There had been plans to offer Covid-19 testing in meat plants across Ireland, drawn up by then-Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary, however this was suspended as demand for screening increased in the community following a rise in cases.