October 24th, 2020

22 new COVID cases in Lethbridge


By Jensen, Randy on October 15, 2020.

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

Lethbridge’s COVID-19 active case total increased by 22 in the past 24 hours and now sits at 112. The total includes 41 active cases in south Lethbridge, 37 in north Lethbridge and 34 in west.

The good news is there was finally an uptick in recovered cases in the city. After sitting stagnant at 171 for several days, there was 11 more recovered cases reported Tuesday to sit at 182.

Lethbridge County also recorded an increase in active cases by five to 45.

Cavendish Farms confirmed on Wednesday that 10 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at its Lethbridge plant. All affected employees are self-isolating as recommended by public health and safety guidelines.

“The health and safety of our employees is our number-one priority. We wish our colleagues speedy recoveries,” said Lee Gleim, Director of Operations for Cavendish Farms in Lethbridge, in a media release. “Based on a planned maintenance shutdown, manufacturing operations ceased Friday, Oct. 9, at our Lethbridge facility. Operations will restart on Monday, Oct. 19.”

Upon learning of the diagnoses, the Cavendish Farms Human Resources team worked quickly to identify potential exposure to other employees. All potentially affected employees have been notified and are self-isolating.

“Our on-site pandemic response team was activated. We’re adhering to the guidance of local public health agencies as well as health-care professionals,” said Gleim. “We completed a full sanitization and disinfection of our entire plant. We are also encouraging all employees to get tested.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cavendish Farms has put multiple measures in place help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 including:

– New protocols for daily non-invasive temperature screening at site entrances as well as hand sanitizing stations at the entrances and throughout the plant;

– Prior to each shift, employees answer health questionnaires;

– Staggering shifts;

– Virtual meetings encouraged for employee teams and customers;

– Significantly increasing sanitization and disinfection protocols at the facility;

– Adding plexiglass barriers or wearing masks where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained;

– Introducing pay continuation for self-isolation due to coronavirus (COVID-19); and

– Having a senior leadership team dedicated to the effort and providing regular updates to employees.

Given the growing number of cases in Alberta, Cavendish employees have been wearing masks at the facility since Oct. 6.

Another Lethbridge business, Meridian Manufacturing Ltd., confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak of 10 cases as the first cases were discovered in early October.

“We acted quickly and aggressively as soon as the first cases were discovered,” said Derek Neil, senior vice-president, in a news release.

“We sent co-workers for testing and required them to self-isolate in accordance with AHS guidelines. All employees who can work remotely were instructed to do so again. We reinforced social distancing, the use of masks and other safety measures on our plant floor to protect our workers. Despite all of our protocols, some of our people have still tested positive, indicating some workplace transmission.”

AHS and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety visited the facility last week and reviewed Meridian’s COVID-19 protocols which they were pleased with, the release said.

Meanwhile, a second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed by the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division at St. Francis Junior High in Lethbridge. The school division had previously confirmed single cases at St. Francis and Ecole St. Mary Elementary schools on Tuesday.

There was also another single active case reported by the Lethbridge School Division at Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School. The latest case brings the total for the division to eight since school began in September.

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