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More Covid-19 cases confirmed at Tipton meat factory

By John Corser | Tipton | Business | Published:

Another three cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed among the 640-strong workforce at Tipton's Tulip meat processing factory.

The Tulip factory in George Henry Road, Tipton, where more workers have been tested positive for Covid-19

Tulip said it is continuing to work in collaboration with Public Health England Midlands, the Health and Safety Executive, the local NHS and Sandwell Council, following confirmation of other coronavirus cases last week

The three employees, including two from the same household, received positive test results after more than 100 tests were carried out on a sample of the Tulip workforce on Monday.

All three, together with anyone identified as having had close contact with those who have tested positive, are now isolating at home in line with government guidelines.

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Days before the first coronavirus death in the Black Country in March, more than 600 staff at the factory were told they were likely to lose their jobs when the factory on George Henry Road is shut down.

The company confirmed the decision at the end of a consultation earlier process this month.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “We have now proactively tested 104 staff at Tulip Ltd for coronavirus and have had three positive cases. Tulip has also asked a further 16 employees to isolate at home as a precautionary measure.

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"The site has had a number of cases since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK and are able to report that they have all returned to work safely. We will be conducting further testing across the workforce in the coming days so that we can identify and isolate any further positive cases.”

Tulip Ltd on George Henry Road

Working alongside the health authorities, Tulip has taken steps to reduce the risk of transmission at the plant, on top of measures already in place.

The company says it has actively encouraged its employees to report Covid-19 symptoms to ensure that individuals with infection are appropriately isolated and tested to reduce the risk of infection to co-workers and the wider community.

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In a statement Tulip said: “Since the onset of this pandemic, our business has been working to guidelines issued in relation to coronavirus and food processing sites, and liaising with UK Government, the Food Standards Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England on all matters including social distancing and its application in food processing factories.

“Our team members at Tipton are key workers who have responded to this global pandemic in the most challenging of circumstances; their health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and we welcome the support of health authorities.

“We continue to work in partnership with health authorities to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 among our workforce, at work and in the community, as we provide food for the country during these unprecedented times"

Dr James Chipwete, consultant in communicable disease control and PHE West Midlands, said: “Health partners have provided health protection advice to Tulip Ltd and its employees, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the site. Acting on our advice the company has taken swift action to further protect the workforce and, in doing so, the local community.

“It is important also, to remind local people that as lockdown measures are eased, we must not lose sight of the fact that coronavirus is still here, and the most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and those close to us, is to continue to practice social distancing and regular handwashing.”

There have been 35 cases among the Tipton workforce in total since the start of the outbreak in March

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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