Cargill plant reopens; 55 cases still active but in isolation

GUELPH – The Cargill meat processing plant on Dunlop Drive in Guelph resumed operations on Dec. 29 as anticipated.

And as of 12pm that day, public health was reporting a total of 143 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Danny Williamson, spokesperson for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, said in an email that 55 cases are still active and 88 have been cleared.

The Dunlop Drive facility went into outbreak on Dec. 17 and the company voluntarily closed the affected portions of the plant.

Daniel Sullivan, Cargill spokesperson, said the reopening was done in conjunction with public health and the union.

He said harvest shifts are resuming “in a measured way” on Dec. 29 and 30 and will “work toward full capacity as we continue to focus on the safety of our employees.”

He added fabrication shifts will resume on Jan. 2.

“In addition to safety measures we implemented at our facilities months ago, we have taken time during the idle to conduct a full, deep-clean of the facility as an additional step to respond to the community-wide impacts of the virus,” Sullivan said.

“We want to emphasize that employees should be healthy and not had contact with anyone with the COVID-19 virus for 14 day before returning to work.”

Sullivan thanked staff for their dedication and resilience.

“We are poignantly aware that being an essential worker is not easy,” he said.

“We care about our employees and this community. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues who have been impacted by the virus.”

Sullivan added, “We are grateful to the local businesses and community members who are showing our team care and support during this challenging time.

“Our focus now is on keeping people healthy and delivering safe food to people across Canada.”