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28 cases of COVID-19 at East Vancouver chicken processing plant

Last Updated Apr 28, 2020 at 5:30 pm PDT

A COVID-19 outbreak at United Poultry in East Vancouver saw more than 20 cases in April 2020. (CityNews photo)

All employees at the facility are being managed as either COVID-19 cases or close contacts

United Poultry Company Ltd. was closed on Monday

No evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission for the virus: CFIA

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Coastal Health says 28 employees at a chicken processing plant in East Vancouver have tested positive for the virus.

All employees at the United Poultry Company Ltd., located at 534 East Cordova St., are being managed as COVID-19 cases or close contacts and have been told to self-isolate.

The plant was closed Monday.

The health authority says it first became aware of a potential outbreak after receiving a positive lab test on Sunday from an employee of the plant.

Health officials attended the processing plant on Monday and tested 71 staff who were there.

That resulted in 27 additional positive cases of COVID-19, says a release from the health authority.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during her daily briefing Tuesday that the health authority is investigating with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“The health teams are doing the contact tracing and investigation of this outbreak,” she added.

According to the federal inspection agency, there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission for the virus.

“At this time, there have been no reported cases of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19,” says the health authority. “Therefore, no recall of chicken products distributed from this plant is required.”

The inspection agency advised all Canadians to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation:

  • washing hands with soap and water;
  • regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces;
  • cooking meat thoroughly;
  • avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods.