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10 COVID-19 Cases at Brandon Maple Leaf Plant

August 7, 2020 6:15 PM | News

Maple Leaf Foods

A Maple Leaf Foods employee walks past a Maple Leaf sign at the company’s meat facility in Toronto on December 15, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The union representing workers at the Maple Leaf pork processing plant in Brandon says six more employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger says the union was informed of the cases on Thursday, bringing the total up to 10.

“We are expecting that this number will continue to increase, and we are renewing our call on Maple Leaf to halt production in the Brandon plant until this situation is under control,” Traeger said in a release.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said the cases are part of a cluster of 34 in the city west of Winnipeg, and appear to be connected to a person who travelled from Eastern Canada.

He said an investigation shows the infected workers did not acquire the virus from the plant.

Roussin added that there is indication of community spread in Brandon.

The union is calling on Maple Leaf to temporarily close the plant down until additional test results come back.

Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO Michael McCain said he has confidence in the safety precautions at the meat-processing plant. Employees at the Brandon facility undergo daily health and temperature screenings, wear personal protective equipment and practise social distancing within the plant.

“We are confident that our workplace is safe and we will continue operating,” he said in a statement Friday.

— With files from The Canadian Press