Urgent search for 300 workers at Wrexham meat processing site hit by coronavirus outbreak

290620 Rowan Foods Wrexham Syndicated
There are more than 1,000 people working at the site.

Public Health chiefs are trying to trace hundreds of workers at a North Wales food processing site, following an outbreak of coronavirus.

They need to find around 300 people who work at Rowan Foods in Wrexham, where 166 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed so far.

There are more than 1,000 people working at the site.

In a statement, Public Health Wales said: "We are working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to urgently contact just over 300 workers that have not yet presented for testing.

“As we would expect with any focused track and trace process, we will identify additional asymptomatic cases. Finding these cases does not mean that the rate of infection in the Wrexham area is increasing as a whole.

“There is no evidence that Rowan Foods is the source of the outbreak. The multi-agency team managing the outbreak with Public Health Wales will continue to review the situation and work with the employer, their workforce and wider community to bring this outbreak to a swift conclusion."

The owner Oscar Mayer Group confirmed the company had been working with Public Health Wales to implement a track and trace system for the virus to protect the workforce.

The Welsh Government said it was "closely monitoring" the outbreaks, including for any evidence of wider community transmission as well as confirmation of 30 cases at the Kepak meat factory in Merthyr Tydfil.

It has since issued new guidance for meat processing and food production plants about preventing and managing outbreaks of coronavirus.

The Welsh Government has issued guidance to meat processing and food production plants following the outbreaks Credit: PA

Health Minister Vaughan Gething MS said it shows that the virus has "not gone away."

“These outbreaks show coronavirus has not gone away. They reinforce the importance of us all following social distancing guidance, continuing good basic hand hygiene and if we have symptoms, staying at home and not going to work.

“This provides clear advice and support for the sector to help it prevent and manage coronavirus in the workplace and ensure all necessary safeguards are in place to protect their employees and their families."  

The Wrexham site first hit the headlines in relation to coronavirus earlier this year, when workers walked out in April in an apparent protest over what they felt was a lack of protection from the virus.

The firm supplies major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

The Rowan Foods outbreak and the cluster of cases around the Anglesey 2 Sisters abattoir have so far accounted for more than 300 infections.