Close to 300 Greencore sandwich workers test positive for Covid-19

Cluster outbreak at group’s sandwich factory in UK forces affected workers to self-isolate

Greencore has reported 292 people testing positive for coronavirus at its Northampton sandwich factory.

Greencore has reported 292 people testing positive for coronavirus at its Northampton sandwich factory.

 

A total of 292 people have tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak at a Greencore sandwich factory in Northampton.

Dublin-headquartered Greencore said some of its staff were self-isolating after a significant number tested positive for coronavirus.

The company is the largest manufacturer of pre-packed sandwiches in the UK and supplies most of the big retail multiples, including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Northampton is the company’s largest plant, employing 2,100 of its 11,000 staff. It remains open.

A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire County Council said 79 Greencore staff returned positive National Health Service tests and a further 213 tested positive through Greencore’s private testing. The company took the decision to proactively test workers as a result of a rise in cases in the town, she said.

Proactive testing

In a statement, Greencore said: “As a result of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Northampton area, we took the decision to start proactively testing all of the colleagues at our Northampton site.

“We can confirm that a number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating.

“We are liaising closely with PHE [Public Health England] East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, who are fully supportive of the controls that we have on site.”

The company added: “In each case we have immediately conducted contact tracing and instructed potentially affected colleagues to self-isolate.

Greencore said all its sites had wide-ranging, social-distancing measures, stringent hygiene procedures and regular temperature checking in place, “and we are doing everything that we can to keep our people safe”.

‘Act now’

Lucy Wightman, director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, said employees had been asked to “act now” after the number of confirmed cases in the town increased from 66 in the week ending August 2nd to 85 for the week ending August 9th.

“Northampton borough has been experiencing a high number of cases over the last four weeks and residents and employees have been asked to act now to follow additional measures, to avoid a local lockdown or further government intervention.”

Businesses and workplaces had worked with the council and Public Health Northamptonshire to ensure they played a pivotal role “in helping employees to understand the risks associated with car sharing, house sharing and sharing crowded areas during breaks or commuting to and from work,” she said. – PA