Scheff Foods Ltd, based at Halfords Park, off Halfords Lane, is working with Sandwell Council, Public Health England Midlands and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to manage the outbreak and prevent further spread of the virus.
Scheff Foods closed voluntarily from today and will reopen on September 23, to allow for deep cleaning and other preventative measures to take place. The HSE has given the company advice and is putting further controls in place to prevent transmission.
Five members of staff tested positive at the end of August and, following proactive testing of staff last week, a further 11 positive cases have now been identified.
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Staff who have tested positive have already been asked to self-isolate for 10 days and their household contacts to self-isolate for 14 days.
Following the decision to close the factory, all other staff will now be treated as workplace contacts and have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days during the closure period. Around 80 people work on the site and all staff will be communicated with during the closure period, for any further guidance and updates.
People who live with Scheff Foods members of staff do not need to self-isolate themselves unless they live with someone who has tested positive or is displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “I would like to thank Scheff Foods for alerting us to the outbreak and their ongoing co-operation. This voluntary closure will help to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“It’s very important that all staff members self-isolate for 14 days, to protect other people from the virus.”
A spokesman for Scheff Foods Ltd said: “The safety and wellbeing of all our staff is of the highest importance and we have followed many measures to prevent transmission at our site including conducting daily temperature checks of all staff.
"At no point did we see any spikes in temperature or reports of symptoms associated with Covid-19. As soon as we became aware of positive cases, a number of staff were immediately asked to self-isolate and we ensured that we alerted public health professionals.
“We have made the difficult decision to voluntary close for two weeks as this is the most effective means of containing the outbreak. This action will help protect the health of our workforce as well as that of the wider community.
“Our aim is to be proactive in containing the outbreak and follow all support and guidance offered.”