13 meat plants with Covid-19 outbreaks inspected by HSA

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has inspected 13 meat plants that have been impacted by Covid-19, out of the 20 plants that have seen outbreaks of the virus, as of yesterday, Thursday, June 4.

These plants are listed on an “outbreak list” compiled by the National Outbreak Control Team (NOCT). In addition to the 13 plants that have been inspected and are on this list, the HSA has also inspected three other plants that are not on the list.

The HSA said that the highest impacted sites have now been inspected, and it is anticipated that all 20 sites on the outbreak list will be inspected by the end of next week, Friday, June 12.

The NOCT is working with the HSA, as well as officials involved in public, environmental and animal health, to control the virus in meat plants.

Local outbreak control teams are also in place to address outbreaks of Covid-19 in individual plants and to recommend measures to manage current outbreaks as well as any future ones.

The HSA’s role in this relates to occupational health and safety, which, in terms of Covid-19, means ensuring the ‘Return to Work’ safety protocols are adhered to. The HSA does not have any role in testing meat plant staff for Covid-19.

Latest figures

Earlier today, the Health Service Executive (HSE) outlined the latest figures for Covid-19 outbreaks in meat plants.

Dr. Mai Mannix, the HSE’s director of public health in the mid-west, confirmed that, as of June 1, 1,054 cases of Covid-19 have been detected among meat plant workers.

Of the 20 facilities that have seen outbreaks, 15 of them are currently under investigation (by public health authorities, not the HSA), while the remaining five have had investigations closed as they have not had a positive case in 28 days or more.

Mass testing (testing of all staff) has taken place at eight facilities.

88% of the workers who have been infected are out of the infectious period (14 days), and 62% have returned to work.

Of the infected workers, 2.7% have required hospitalisation, and seven individuals required admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). There have been no deaths among meat plant staff in the Republic of Ireland from Covid-19.