The chicken processing plant in Coupar Angus that was forced to close last summer after staff were infected with COVID-19, has once again been hit by an outbreak, with dozens of staff testing positive.
However, local health leaders have insisted the plant can remain open, and that unlike the last outbreak, many of the cases were likely to have been contracted in the community, rather than at work.
Dr Emma Fletcher, Director of Public Health for Tayside NHS, who is chairing the Incident Management Team (IMT), said: “57 cases of COVID-19 connected to the 2 Sisters food processing plant have now been identified. This was an expected increase, with many of the additional positive cases already self-isolating.
“The Incident Management Team remains reassured that the factory can remain open at this time as we are in a very different position to when there were COVID-19 cases at the factory last August.
“Firstly, 2 Sisters have put in place a number of measures to reduce the risk of transmission within the factory. These have been reviewed regularly and assurance provided by the relevant regulatory authorities.
“Secondly, the incidence of the infection in the community is much higher compared to August. Therefore, we will identify cases of COVID-19 in employees of 2 Sisters, as in any workplace, at this time. Many of the cases are likely to have contracted the infection outwith the factory setting.
“Thirdly, we have built on our experience from the cases at the factory last year and work closely with the factory ensuring full contact tracing is completed for all staff contacts and advice and support provided to employees affected through partner agencies of the IMT.
“We can confirm that contact tracing of the positive cases to date is ongoing and over 80 employees who were working in the areas of the factory which have been identified as having been directly affected, are self-isolating as a precaution.
“The factory is continuing to work closely with NHS Tayside’s Public Health team and Food Standards Scotland to help manage the situation.
“The IMT is keeping the situation under close review and will meet again on Friday, 15 January.”