COVID-19 outbreak grows at Cargill in Guelph, second facility reports case

The COVID-19 outbreak at a Cargill meat processing facility in Guelph is growing. Meanwhile, the union representing workers says a second facility nearby is reporting one new case.

Public health says 35 people tested positive at Dunlop Drive facility

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said it's working with Cargill to test workers in the plant's impacted areas. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) public health says 35 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Cargill beef processing plant in Guelph, Ont., as of Sunday.

WDG public health said it's working with Cargill to investigate the outbreak at the facility at 165 Dunlop Drive.

More than 100 workers have been identified as high risk contacts, according to the union representing workers.

Tim Deelstra, spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 175 and 633, told CBC News one worker has tested positive for COVID-19 at a second Cargill facility in Guelph at 180 Watson Parkway South. He said that facility focuses on packaging and distribution. 

Public health could not confirm the case at the Watson facility. 

Risk of spread

Public health officials said in a release on Friday there is a risk of indirect spread to the community from the outbreak.

"COVID-19 is spreading within our community. Higher levels of community transmission increase the risk of outbreaks, and outbreaks in turn contribute to greater community spread," said a public health spokesperson.

Public health said it's completing an infection prevention and control inspection of the plant and testing all staff impacted by the outbreak.

Deelstra said the facility has been "slowed down" while enhanced cleaning takes place.

"We have been very concerned about this all the way from the beginning, and have worked very hard with the employer to put measure and protocols in place at the plant including enhanced cleaning, personal protective equipment, physical distancing measures, all of the precautions you can," said Deelstra.

The region will move into the "red zone" of the provinces COVID-19 framework as on Monday.