Some Hamilton workplaces are shutting down to stop COVID-19 outbreaks from spreading
Aryzta/Oakrun Farm Bakery has partly closed while National Steel Car and Toyotetsu closed completely
At least three workplaces with outbreaks in Hamilton and the surrounding area are winding down or halting operations because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The efforts to try and prevent more infections comes as the province recently announced a paid sick day plan and as variants of concern continue to spread in the city during the third wave.
Here are some of the largest and most significant outbreaks in Hamilton and the surrounding area.
Hamilton Bakery, National Steel Car shutter operations
Aryzta/Oakrun Farm Bakery on 1770 Fiddlers Green Rd. has shut down five production lines for 10 days after Hamilton public health recommended the measure to "get this outbreak under control."
"Currently there are 37 cases in multiple areas of the facility, mainly associated with the affected distribution lines that have been closed," read a statement from public health spokesperson James Berry.
Kathy Lenkov, a spokesperson with the bakery, said the production lines are spread out across the three buildings on the site. The outbreak screened positive for the B117 variant first seen in the U.K.
Lenkov also said workers who are affected by the closures will be paid while they're off work.
This comes after National Steel Car recently decided to shut down for two weeks because of cases in "multiple areas of the facility, which is indicative of a facility-wide outbreak."
The outbreak has infected 28 people and also screened positive for the B117 variant.
1,200 Toyotetsu staff out of work after temporary closure
Toyotetsu, an auto parts plant in Simcoe, has temporarily closed down, leaving some 1,200 employees out of work.
It had eight staff test positive over the past few weeks, many of which weren't on-site, according to a statement on Facebook.
"We recognize the disruption that this has caused for many of you, and we are working closely with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit regarding the safe re-starting of our operations," said human resources manager Brad G. Krampp.
"As we continue to follow their guidance, a return-to-work date will be determined with your health and the health of your families as our primary consideration."
But the company said it would continue paying staff through the end of the week and they'll receive that pay next Friday.
47 infections at Fearman's pork plant as of Monday
The union representing staff at Fearman's pork plant say 47 people had COVID-19 as of Monday.
Tim Deelstra, UFCW 175 and 633 spokesperson, said the outbreak started on April 18 most of those cases were in one department and he doesn't know of anyone that was hospitalized "to the best of our information right now."
He said there's an "overwhelmingly a large sense of concern" from workers. And he said Fearman's could have done a better job sharing information about the outbreak.
"We're continuing to have those conversations with the employer about that," Deelstra said.
"There's just overwhelmingly a large sense of concern."
He added Halton public health is going to do testing at the site and host a vaccine clinic there.
"We want to see that happen for all essential workers across the province ASAP," Deelstra said.