Mondelēz Canada, the company that makes Oreos and Cadbury chocolates, has shut down its Hamilton operation after four employees tested positive for COVID-19.
In a release to Global News, a spokesperson said the company had three cases at its Ewen Road plant, near Main Street West and Osler Drive, mid to late last week with a fourth case on the weekend.
The closure is the second within a week from the candy maker for cleaning purposes connected to positive cases.
“As soon as we were informed of the initial cases, we took swift action by launching an urgent investigation focused on the health and safety of our colleagues including contact tracing, and pausing the lines to carry out additional, focused deep cleaning and sanitation,” said Julie Edwards senior director of supply chain for Mondelēz.
The company launched a contact tracing investigation last week and is working with Hamilton Public Health.
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Edwards says the facility will “re-commence” operations when it is suitable to do so. Employees will continue to be paid during the shutdown.
Since March, Mondelēz Canada says it has invested heavily in enhanced health and safety measures at its manufacturing sites including ‘physical distancing’ of two metres per person in addition to fixed, physical barriers to separate colleagues.
“We have enhanced sanitization of common touchpoints and areas in the plant multiple times per shift, as well as between shifts, and also supplied masks to all colleagues and visitors – which are now mandatory to wear,” Edward said.
The Hamilton location has also been employing temperature screenings since March.
The 250,000-square-foot plant employs about 350 people with only about a quarter of them working at any given time.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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