OHS Canada Magazine

Poultry plant in Coquitlam, B.C., closed by health authority over COVID-19

2 workers test positive, all others screened


COQUITLAM, B.C. — A poultry processing plant in Coquitlam, B.C., has been closed by Fraser Health after an outbreak of COVID-19 among its workers.

The health authority says two workers at the facility operated by Superior Poultry Processors have tested positive for the virus and all employees have been screened.

It says anyone who has the virus or had close contact with them has been told to self-isolate.

The authority says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has advised there is no evidence to suggest the virus is transmitted through food.

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As a result, it says no chicken products from the plant have been recalled.

The plant is the sister facility to the United Poultry in Vancouver, where 35 staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Officials from the plants have not commented.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that investigations are underway at both facilities, but it appears there was movement of workers and management staff between the plants.

Multiple outbreaks

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement on Friday that those outbreaks are in addition to a growing a number of inmates and staff at the Mission Institution, where 78 have tested positive.

The statement says there are also 10 confirmed positive cases in B.C. connected to workers returning home from the Kearl Lake oil sands project in Alberta.

They say they expect to see more positive tests in the coming days connected to the outbreaks.

The province reported four new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the toll to 98.

There have been 29 new cases since Thursday, for a total of 1,853 cases, while 1,114 people have recovered.

The B.C. government also announced it is accelerating a program to get faster internet services to rural and remote communities.

A funding stream has been created from a $50 million program and will help service providers pay for upgrades to improve internet speeds and connectivity.

Citizens’ Services Minister Anne Kang said it’s more important for these communities to be connected during the COVID-19 pandemic as children are online for schooling and families are connecting with doctors through the internet.

“Responding to the pandemic requires the best from all of us. Our communities need reliable internet access right now, and this new fund will get projects completed quickly,” she said.

The program allows service providers in the province to apply for grants of up to $50,000, or 90 per cent of their expenses, to cover costs of equipment.