Greencore union carry out urgent 'thorough' track and trace process after 300 coronavirus cases confirmed at Northampton food factory

Around a tenth of the overall workforce has tested positive for the virus

By Alice Dyer
Friday, 14th August 2020, 11:22 am

A major Northampton factory makes food such as pre-packed sandwiches and employees hundreds of people has launched a thorough track and trace system, according to its union.

Yesterday (Thursday) Public Health Northamptonshire confirmed that Greencore, in Moulton Park is experiencing an outbreak of coronavirus cases.After further investigation by the Chronicle & Echo it was confirmed that 292 employees have found to have coronavirus.

Through NHS tests there were 79 positive results and through Greencore's own private testing a further 213 positive results were recorded.

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A total of 292 colleagues at Greencore in Moulton Park have tested positive for coronavirus

With more than 2,000 people employed at the campus, the positive tests account for around a tenth of the overall workforce.

The Northampton branch of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) which represents Greencore last night said: "Unfortunately, following the coronavirus testing that took place on site earlier this week, 213 of the tests have come back as positive.

"This is in addition to 79 other colleagues who had previously tested positive through the NGH testing since the beginning of the pandemic.

"In total, as of today, 292 colleagues have now been impacted by this terrible virus and our thoughts are all with them."

The Northampton Leadership Team of BFAWU said it was continuing to feedback test results to all individuals and is also conducting a 'thorough' track and trace process to identify everyone who has been in contact with those who have tested positive.

A spokesman said: "We would like to remind colleagues that whether they are showing symptoms or not, those who test positive must self-isolate for at least 10 days.

"In addition, if colleagues test negative, but live in the same household or car share with a fellow colleague who tests positive, they must self isolate for 14 days, due to the risk of them also contracting the virus.

"We realise this continues to be a worrying time for everyone and will continue to keep you updated over the coming days."

The outbreak comes as cases in Northampton have increased over the last four weeks and the health authority is now urging residents to follow the guidelines.

Lucy Wightman, director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton has said they are working with Greencore providing support in managing the outbreak.

Lucy added: "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.

"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.”

Lucy also revealed there are currently 20 different Covid-19 outbreaks in the county.Twelve are in care home settings, there are three hospital outbreaks and the rest are in workplaces. Public health teams are working with all of the settings to contain the outbreaks.