17 more workers at Chatham-Kent greenhouse test positive for COVID-19

Chatham-Kent's health unit say 17 more workers at Greenhill Produce have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Outbreak at Greenhill Produce began last month

CK Public Health say 17 more workers at Greenhill Produce, a greenhouse operation near Kent Bridge, Ont., have tested positive for COVID-19. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Chatham-Kent's health unit say 17 more workers at Greenhill Produce have tested positive for COVID-19. 

An outbreak was investigated at the greenhouse at the end of April, when about 40 cases of the disease was discovered among workers at the business. 

The health unit say the new cases are related to the initial outbreak, and bring the total number of those who have tested positive at Greenhill Produce to 69. 

"These employees initially tested negative but were suspected to have been exposed. They were isolated in separate bunkhouses, away from those who tested positive," said Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health, Dr. David Colby, in a press release.

"That was direction given to Greenhill Produce as soon as their very first employees tested positive for the virus."

The majority of the workers at Greenhill Produce who had initially tested positive for the disease were migrant workers, but most were not new arrivals having been in Canada four months to one year or more.

CK Public Health say they have been in contact with the workers daily, using translation services to provide education and offer support. 

"It is likely that these cases were exposed prior to isolation. That is why they were tested again," said Colby. "Public Health measures, such as isolating those who have tested positive away from those who have not, exist to stop the spread of the virus. It is imperative that these measures are followed to the letter."

Fifty of the workers who tested positive for the disease have fully recovered and are now back to work, say CK Public Health. 

That's good news for Greenhill Produce, who had lost about half of their workforce to the disease and were concerned about their harvest. 


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