Coronavirus outbreak in vegetable farm with hundreds of workers to be tested

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A coronavirus outbreak was confirmed at a vegetable farm after 14 workers were confirmed to be positive.About 340 people work at Evesham Vale Growers Limited in Blackminster near Evesham, which grows tomatoes, spring onions, asparagus, fennel and zucchini.

All site staff will now be tested and asked to self-isolate when not working on the Worcestershire farm.

Measures were put in place by Worcestershire County Council, which said it was working with Public Health England to contain the outbreak.

Staff were provided with PPE, on-site testing began and social distancing, face covers in closed areas and hand washing were all encouraged.



14 workers out of 340 are affected to date

The site already had screens to protect workers.

Dr Adrian Phillips, Communicable Disease Control Consultant at PHE Midlands, said: “We are working closely with local authorities and management at Evesham Vale Growers Limited to support the health and well-being of the workforce. work and public health in the broad sense.

“We always expect to see cases in the community and in settings where people are closer to each other, such as workplaces, which is why the Test and Trace system is important, to help us identify any potential problems and take prompt corrective action. reduce the spread.

“To support this workforce of around 340 key workers, the company has implemented a range of infection control measures to try to reduce the risk of staff exposure to Covid-19.

“The measures include supporting on-site testing, promoting social distancing in the inner packaging area, providing PPE for staff where needed, encouraging regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds.” and promoting the use of face masks in closed areas.

“As we have seen a global trend for large food producers to be prone to epidemics, as a precaution the decision was made to test the entire workforce.

Worcestershire Director of Public Health Dr Kathryn Cobain maintained that the foods produced at the site, which include tomatoes, spring onions, asparagus, fennel and zucchini, as well as’ combinable crops and forage “according to the company’s website, are” safe to eat. ”

She said, “Our priority is to protect the health and well-being of all residents of our community.

“We will continue to support the management of the site, their employees – who are an important part of our local economy and the local community during this difficult time.

“The food produced on the site is not affected by the epidemic and remains safe to eat. Anyone who has a fever, a persistent dry cough, or a loss or change in their taste or smell should call 119 or go online to arrange a test. ”

A spokesperson for Evesham Vale Growers Limited said: “Our people are our priority, they are key workers who work hard and help us deliver food to the country.

“The site has a host of preventative measures in place for our workers, including screens, hand washing facilities, additional cleaning and protocols for workers coming and going on site.

“We are working closely with PHE Midlands and Public Health at Worcestershire County Council to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

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