Greencore, the factory that provides Marks and Spencer with its ready-to-eat sandwiches, has confirmed it is “proactively testing” workers after 299 employees tested positive for coronavirus.
The group confirmed that those who had tested positive are now self-isolating, and the company is working alongside PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council to help support its control of the virus.
It comes after Northampton has been experiencing a “high number” of cases over the past month. Local authorities have urged residents and employees to “act now” to follow additional measures, in a bid to avoid a local lockdown or further government intervention.
In a statement, a spokesperson for 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 significant number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating. We are liaising closely with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, who are fully supportive of the controls that we have on site.”
They added: “In each case we have immediately conducted contact tracing and instructed potentially affected colleagues to self-isolate.
‘All of Greencore’s sites have 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. As ever, the health and well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority.”
A joint statement from Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire said: “We are working with colleagues at Greencore in Northampton after the discovery of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace. Public Health England have been providing support to colleagues at Greencore in managing the outbreak.
“This has been supplemented by support from the local Infection Prevention and Control team and Northampton Borough Council’s environmental health colleagues. It is evident that Greencore has highly effective measures in place and they continue to work extremely hard to exceed the requirements needed to be COVID-19 secure within the workplace.”
They added: “Businesses and workplaces have worked alongside Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire to ensure they play 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.”
“They have worked tirelessly in the main to ensure that they are compliant and that workplace procedures are adhered to at all times.”