A Cargill meat processing plant is shown in Chambly, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The plant is closing temporarily after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A Cargill meat processing plant is shown in Chambly, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The plant is closing temporarily after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Another Cargill meat-processing plant closes after COVID-19 outbreak

171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure

A Cargill meat-processing plant south of Montreal announced it is closing its doors after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19, even as schools across much of Quebec prepared to open theirs to students on Monday.

The outbreak in Chambly, Que. marks the second time the company has experienced a COVID-19 closure at one of its facilities in Canada.

A spokeswoman for the union representing the workers said the Cargill plant will close temporarily as of Wednesday so all its workers can be tested.

Roxane Larouche said 171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure, and 30 of them have tested negative. The testing is expected to last until Friday, and the plant will reopen once there are enough uninfected employees to run it safely.

Cargill said the 64 workers represent 13 per cent of the workforce at the plant. The company said three employees have recovered.

“Because the health and safety of Cargill employees remains our priority, we’ve decided to close our protein production factory in Chambly,” the company said, adding that it would continue to pay workers during the stoppage.

“Cargill is working in close collaboration with local health authorities and the union to test our employees as quickly as possible.”

READ MORE: ‘Numb and very lost’: Alberta meat plant reopens as memorial held for Cargill worker

The workplace had implemented safety measures for employees, including installing plexiglass between workers where possible, staggering arrival and departure times and providing masks, visors and safety glasses, Larouche confirmed.

A Cargill beef-packing plant in High River, Alta., reopened last Monday after a two-week shutdown.

More than 900 of 2,000 workers at that plant have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, some of Quebec’s children are preparing to return to class on Monday as the province moves ahead with a plan to reopen elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area.

Students will be subject to physical distancing, frequent handwashing and carefully co-ordinated school days spent in large part at their desks while school officials keep up with cleaning, disinfection and following public health guidelines.

Attendance isn’t mandatory, and two school boards told The Canadian Press that most of their students were staying home for now.

The province allowed most retail stores outside Montreal to open May 11, but pushed back the opening date for schools and other businesses in the hard-hit metropolis to May 25 as case numbers remained high.

As of Sunday morning, there were 67,996 COVID-19 cases, including 4,728 deaths, according to Canada’s top public health doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam. Some 47 per cent of cases have recovered, she said in a statement.

READ MORE: Feds to buy up surplus from Canadian agrifood producers as part of $252M investment

Over half of the country’s cases are in Quebec, which registered 142 new deaths on Sunday for a total of 2,928, as well as a caseload of over 37,700.

Other provinces are also taking small steps to reopen, albeit at a slower pace than the hardest-hit province.

Ontario allowed hardware stores and safety supply stores to reopen this weekend, while non-essential retail stores will be allowed to offer curbside pickup this week.

The province reported 35 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus and 294 more cases, which represents the lowest rate of growth since March, even as the province was dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak at Toronto Western Hospital.

The University Health Network said the new outbreak is on the hospital’s 9A Fell unit, which had previously been declared one of its “COVID negative units.”

The organization didn’t reveal how many cases are part of the new outbreak, but said that across its network, 83 staff members have tested positive for the virus from January to May 4.

Alberta is also planning to allow some retail stores to open this week, while New Brunswick’s stores, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and campgrounds started reopening Friday — but only if they could show they had a plan to meet guidelines for physical distancing, hand hygiene and allowing staff to remain home when ill.

In Prince Edward Island, there was some good news as the province’s chief health officer announced Friday that some physical distancing restrictions would be lifted, including an allowance for Mother’s Day hugs.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusfood security

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowfall warnings Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 for parts of the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Chilliwack Progress)
Winter storm warnings Thursday for Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Snow is expected to become heavier as day progresses with snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres

Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford has partnered with the online platform REES (Respect, Educate Empower Survivors) for the reporting of sexual violence.
Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford partners with website to report sexual violence

Platform offers increased options for staff and students to report misconduct

The University of the Fraser Valley Peace and Reconciliation Centre
UFV students hold online forum on peace and reconciliation

Two online sessions on Feb. 25 include student research

A new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford will include shared kitchen space that can be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. (Stock photo by Robyn Wright from Pixabay)
Almost $2M to support new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford

Project being developed by District of Mission and Mission Community Skills Centre

....
Dao Tran declares for Abbotsford byelection

Abby Bike Shop owner announces his bid for vacant councillor seat

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read