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292 staff at Greencore factory in Northampton test positive for COVID-19

A leading producer of convenience foods, Greencore has 292 staff at its factory in Northampton, testing positive for COVID-19.

The company, which employs around 2,100 people and produces nearly four million sandwiches every week, said that the positive staff are now self-isolating. Greencore's 16 UK factories produce sandwiches, wraps, quiches, sushi and salads for supermarkets, convenience stores, garage forecourts, coffee shop chains, contract caterers and airlines.

The company 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. 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.”

Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire have made a joint statement: '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.

'Northampton borough has been experiencing a high number of cases over the last 4 weeks and residents and employees have been asked to “act now” to follow additional measures, to avoid a local lockdown or further government intervention.

'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.

'Individuals must now understand their role in acting responsibly outside of the work environment, to ensure that they protect themselves, their colleagues and those that they socially interact with, especially family and friends.

'The guidance in the workplace is just as important as outside of work. If individuals do not take responsibility for following the guidance that we have issued, then further intervention and a possible local lockdown will follow.

'Everyone must be meticulous in following the guidance, especially in social environments where no markers or visual prompts tell you to stay apart, it must become part of our normal and we must all take our individual responsibility seriously.”