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38 workers at Wrexham food factory test positive for coronavirus

Mid Wales | Coronavirus | Published:

Nearly 40 members of staff at a Wrexham food factory that supplies Greggs and Subway have tested positive for coronavirus.

Bosses at the Rowan Foods factory said the cases reflected an increase in the locality rather than a spread within the site.

Meanwhile staff at a chicken processing plant in Anglesey have been asked to self-isolate for two weeks after 58 cases of coronavirus were confirmed.

Public Health Wales said testing of all staff from the 2 Sisters site was being arranged and tests would take place at an existing site in Bangor and a facility which had been set up in Llangefni.

A third testing site is also being set up in Holyhead.

A spokesman for Oscar Mayer, which runs the Rowan Foods plant in Wrexham, said a track and trace process had been implemented at the factory which prepares foods for supermarkets and chains including Greggs and Subway.

Thirty-eight staff from the workforce of 1,500 were absent after testing positive for Covid-19 but none were seriously ill or hospitalised, the spokesman said.

He added: "We are aware through discussions with Public Health Wales that the Wrexham area is seeing significantly high numbers of positive cases, it is concerning but not surprising that we are seeing a number of our staff affected by this local trend.

"Whilst we are seeing a number of cases on site, Public Health Wales support our view that there is no clear evidence to suggest that there is a spread of the virus within the site, we are seeing a reflection on site of the increases in cases within the locality."

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Regarding Anglesey, Dr Christopher Johnson, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, said: "Public Health Wales can confirm that employees and contractors of the 2 Sisters poultry processing plant in Llangefni have been notified that they are coronavirus contacts, and we are asking them to self-isolate for 14 days to help protect population health.

"We are working in close collaboration with the employer, Anglesey and Gwynedd councils, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and other partners, and our priority is to bring this outbreak to a swift conclusion."

On Thursday, the 2 Sisters Food Group announced it was "doing the right thing" and would cease work on site for 14 days with immediate effect.

In a statement, the 2 Sisters Food Group said: "Doing the right thing means from today we will temporarily suspend production at our Llangefni site with immediate effect for a period of 14 days."

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The company said the first reported positive case at the plant was on May 28 and a full "safe ways of working" action plan had been in place since early March.

Production at the factory, where 560 people are employed, will be transferred to other company locations until July 2.

2 Sisters Food Group is one of the largest food producers in the UK, with brands including Fox's Biscuits and Holland's Pies, and customers such as supermarkets, KFC and Marks & Spencer.

The Llangefni site does not supply retail or branded food service customers, said the company.

Anglesey County Council leader Llinos Medi said: "With a significant number of confirmed coronavirus cases amongst employees - this is a huge priority, not only for us on Anglesey, but for the whole of North Wales."

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