A Chilliwack poultry processing plant has been ordered to remain closed, following an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff working at the facility.
Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry (FVSP) first announced on April 28 that a plant worker was at home after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. They have been providing updates on the situation through their social media channels, including dispelling myths on poultry safety and COVID-19.
The Farm Store, which is on the same property in Yarrow as the plant, remains open. But on May 1, Fraser Health announced that they’ve ordered the processing side of the business to remain closed.
“Fraser Health Public Health issued a Closure Order for Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry to remain closed following an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff working at the facility,” they reported in their May 1 daily briefing. “All staff have been tested for COVID-19. The Closure Order is in place until Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry can demonstrate that they meet the parameters of the order, which includes addressing deficiencies at the site.”
Also on May 1, FVSP announced they are “taking a breather” at the plant, but keeping the store, online store and office open for business.
“It’s been a tough few days and we’re exhausted,” their Facebook posts reads. “But we are greatly moved by your outpouring of support. Many of us teared up this morning when we saw these signs at the farm. To whoever put them up, you have no idea how much this means to us – you went out of your way to boost our spirits at a very draining time. Thank you!”
They also shared important information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Chicken Farmers of Canada, noting that their poultry has not been recalled and it is not considered a risk by officials.
“We and the CFIA recommend you continue to practice food safety by washing your hands, regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, cooking meat thoroughly, and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods,” they said.
Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry noted they will provide a public update next on Monday.
They are not the only plant in B.C. to have issues with COVID-19. The May 1 Fraser Health update also included information on Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. in Coquitlam, which now has 49 employees who have tested positive. And Sofina Foods in Port Coquitlam remains open with just one staff member who has tested positive.
As for long-term care, there have been no additional reports of cases at Chilliwack’s Eden Care Centre. But there is now one resident who has tested positive at the Worthington Pavilion Long Term Care home in Abbotsford. That home is owned by Fraser Health. A Fraser Health SWAT team is at the site and communication with patients and families is underway. Staff there will not be working at any other facility, according to the health authority.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.fraserhealth.ca/covid19.