Saskatoon·Updated

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Saputo Saskatoon milk plant after 1 worker infected

The infected employee's last shift was on April 27. Other workers are self-isolating, the company says.

Infected employee's last shift was April 27, other workers self-isolating

A worker at Saputo Inc.'s Saskatoon milk plant has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Saskatoon milk plant after one worker tested positive for the virus.

The plant at 122 Wakooma St., in the northern Agriplace area of the city, is owned by Montreal-based dairy company Saputo Inc. About 250 people work there. 

Saputo spokesperson Sandy Vassiadis said the infected employee's last shift was on April 27 and that the company learned this past Sunday about the employee being potentially infected.

"We have not had any others," Vassiadis said when asked if any other employees have since tested positive.

Everyone considered to have come into direct contact with the infected employee has been instructed to self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus, she said. 

"We have worked with health authorities to trace back all the employee's movements in the facility," Vassiadis said. 

Operations at the plant continue, she said, although "deep cleaning and sanitation processes usually take a few hours to one full day, depending on the situation."

Only 1 case needed to trigger outbreak status

The health authority declared the outbreak on Tuesday. Scott Livingstone, the health authority's CEO, disclosed the news publicly during a daily COVID-19 briefing. 

"Immediate measures are being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission at this work site and with identified contacts," Livingstone said. "As the local MHO assesses the situation and assesses risks, more information will become available."

Livingstone noted that only one case was necessary to trigger the declaration of an outbreak.

A full public health advisory will be issued if necessary, he said. 

The milk plant outbreak is the second COVID-19 outbreak health officials have monitored in Saskatoon. 

In April, health officials said four people who had recently stayed at the Confederation Inn had tested positive for the virus, although those people are counted toward the cumulative La Loche case count because they came from that northern community.

With files from The Canadian Press

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