Northampton could be plunged back into lockdown as 300 employees at sandwich factory test positive for coronavirus

NORTHAMPTON could be the next town plunged back into lockdown after 300 employees at a sandwich factory tested positive for coronavirus.

Greencore, the UK's largest maker of pre-packed sandwiches, said some of its staff are self-isolating after several tested positive for coronavirus.

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The company took the decision to proactively test workers as a result of a rise in cases in the town.

Their Northampton site, which supplies own-brand sandwiches to M&S, is now working with Public Health England and the local council.

It comes as Oldham residents could be given new tough restrictions after its coronavirus case rate surged to become the highest in the country.

Leicester saw the first local lockdown on June 29. At that point, the infection rate in the East Midlands city was 135 cases per 100,000 people.

In Oldham, the current rate is 104.6 per 100,000 people.

SANDWICH OUTBREAK

Northampton has seen 149 positive tests for Covid-19 in the two weeks to August 7 – a rise of a third compared to the previous cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,411 cases in the town – 628 per 100,000. The rate for England is 481 per 100,000 people.

In a statement, 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 number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating.

We can confirm that a 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."

The company 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 wellbeing of our colleagues is our number one priority."

LOCKDOWN?

Lucy Wightman, director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, said employees have been asked to "act now" after the number of confirmed cases in the town increased from 66 in the week ending August 2 to 85 for the week ending August 9.

She 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 Midlands 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."

She added: "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.

"Northampton borough has been experiencing a high number of cases over the last four weeks and residents and employees have been asked to 'act now' to follow additional measures, to avoid a local lockdown or further government intervention."

 

 

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