After 326 infected and one dead, Oyrmel agrees Red Deer plant is unsafe

After 326 pork plant workers infect and one killed by COVID-19, and on day UFCW union pickets the plant, owner declares Red Deer Oyrmel plant unsafe and temporarily closes.

RED DEER, Alta. — Olymel has announced it is temporarily closing a pork plant in central Alberta where health officials say hundreds of COVID-19 cases are now connected with an outbreak at the facility.

In a statement Monday, the company says management no longer believes its hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning plant in Red Deer can be operated safely and efficiently.

A provincial spokesperson says in an email that there are 326 confirmed cases and 192 active cases connected to the outbreak.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 president Thomas Hesse says the union is relieved after it had been calling for a closure for weeks, but he says there's no word on whether the 1,850 workers will be paid while the plant is shut.

The company had earlier said the outbreak began in November, but it wasn't until Jan. 20 that there was a significant rise in infections and one person later died.

Olymel says in its statement that over the next few days, plant management will "mobilize the staff necessary to cease operations and complete the facility closure as soon as possible."


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