Seven employees have now tested positive for COVID-19 at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry (FVSP) in Yarrow.
This was announced Monday, two days after the number of cases was at three and the processing facility was shut down pending approval to reopen by Fraser Health.
And while there are four more cases now recorded, and pending tests on 16 more workers, the plant has been allowed to reopen on a reduced workload.
“All seven cases are from within the plant, and are people who work in the same area, take lunch breaks together, and are friends with each other,” according to a FVSP Facebook post.
Seven people have now tested positive, but two of the initial three are getting better, with the five remaining showing no symptoms, according to FVSP.
More than 100 staff members have been tested, including plant workers, office staff and employees of The Farm Store.
”As an extra precaution, any workers who Fraser Health has assessed as having ‘close contact’ with our COVID-positive workers will be in quarantine for 14 days. Fraser Health defines ‘close contact’ as spending 15 minutes or more with the affected person, while using no PPE, at less than six feet apart. As always, we will work closely with any worker in quarantine to access the necessary paperwork or assistance they need in filing for government resources.”
The 16 staff awaiting test results are not allowed on FVSP premises until results are confirmed to be negative. Moving forwards, the company says all employees must go through a screening process before entering the plant, which includes Fraser Health-approved questionnaires and thermometer tests.
The farm and store are receiving questions about food safety given the situation.
“Our poultry has not been recalled,” according to the FVSP Facebook post. “We are following strict protocols from Fraser Health and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to protect and monitor our staff, and to ensure your poultry is safe, nutritious, and of the highest quality. The CFIA reports that at this time, there have been no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.”
Before the weekend, some signs of support were placed outside the farm located at Simmons and Vedder Mountain Road.
“It’s been a tough few days and we’re exhausted,” read a post on Facebook. “But we are greatly moved by your outpouring of support. Many of us teared up this morning when we saw these signs at the farm.”
Two other B.C. poultry plants have also closed due to COVID-19. At Superior Poultry in Coquitlam, 52 employees have tested positive, while at United Poultry in Vancouver there are 35 employees with confirmed cases of the virus.