A Cargill meat processing plant is shown in Chambly, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The plant is closing temporarily after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A Cargill meat processing plant is shown in Chambly, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The plant is closing temporarily after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Another Cargill meat-processing plant closes after COVID-19 outbreak

171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure

A Cargill meat-processing plant south of Montreal announced it is closing its doors after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19, even as schools across much of Quebec prepared to open theirs to students on Monday.

The outbreak in Chambly, Que. marks the second time the company has experienced a COVID-19 closure at one of its facilities in Canada.

A spokeswoman for the union representing the workers said the Cargill plant will close temporarily as of Wednesday so all its workers can be tested.

Roxane Larouche said 171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure, and 30 of them have tested negative. The testing is expected to last until Friday, and the plant will reopen once there are enough uninfected employees to run it safely.

Cargill said the 64 workers represent 13 per cent of the workforce at the plant. The company said three employees have recovered.

“Because the health and safety of Cargill employees remains our priority, we’ve decided to close our protein production factory in Chambly,” the company said, adding that it would continue to pay workers during the stoppage.

“Cargill is working in close collaboration with local health authorities and the union to test our employees as quickly as possible.”

READ MORE: ‘Numb and very lost’: Alberta meat plant reopens as memorial held for Cargill worker

The workplace had implemented safety measures for employees, including installing plexiglass between workers where possible, staggering arrival and departure times and providing masks, visors and safety glasses, Larouche confirmed.

A Cargill beef-packing plant in High River, Alta., reopened last Monday after a two-week shutdown.

More than 900 of 2,000 workers at that plant have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, some of Quebec’s children are preparing to return to class on Monday as the province moves ahead with a plan to reopen elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area.

Students will be subject to physical distancing, frequent handwashing and carefully co-ordinated school days spent in large part at their desks while school officials keep up with cleaning, disinfection and following public health guidelines.

Attendance isn’t mandatory, and two school boards told The Canadian Press that most of their students were staying home for now.

The province allowed most retail stores outside Montreal to open May 11, but pushed back the opening date for schools and other businesses in the hard-hit metropolis to May 25 as case numbers remained high.

As of Sunday morning, there were 67,996 COVID-19 cases, including 4,728 deaths, according to Canada’s top public health doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam. Some 47 per cent of cases have recovered, she said in a statement.

READ MORE: Feds to buy up surplus from Canadian agrifood producers as part of $252M investment

Over half of the country’s cases are in Quebec, which registered 142 new deaths on Sunday for a total of 2,928, as well as a caseload of over 37,700.

Other provinces are also taking small steps to reopen, albeit at a slower pace than the hardest-hit province.

Ontario allowed hardware stores and safety supply stores to reopen this weekend, while non-essential retail stores will be allowed to offer curbside pickup this week.

The province reported 35 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus and 294 more cases, which represents the lowest rate of growth since March, even as the province was dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak at Toronto Western Hospital.

The University Health Network said the new outbreak is on the hospital’s 9A Fell unit, which had previously been declared one of its “COVID negative units.”

The organization didn’t reveal how many cases are part of the new outbreak, but said that across its network, 83 staff members have tested positive for the virus from January to May 4.

Alberta is also planning to allow some retail stores to open this week, while New Brunswick’s stores, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and campgrounds started reopening Friday — but only if they could show they had a plan to meet guidelines for physical distancing, hand hygiene and allowing staff to remain home when ill.

In Prince Edward Island, there was some good news as the province’s chief health officer announced Friday that some physical distancing restrictions would be lifted, including an allowance for Mother’s Day hugs.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusfood security

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Greater Victoria’s Coldest Night walks go virtual this year on Feb. 20. (Photo courtesy Our Place Society)
Our Place neighbourhood walks raise money for Greater Victoria homeless

2021 Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

Members of the Saanich Fire Department can be seen working to put out a fire in the 4500-block of Chattertown Way on Jan. 26. (Saanich Fire/Twitter)
UPDATED: One cat killed, another resuscitated following blaze in Saanich townhouse

Neighbours evacuated following fire on Chatterton Way, third cat still missing

Air Canada /Jazz flight 8081 from Vancouver to Victoria on Jan. 22 had a confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. (Black Press Media file photo)
(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay fire reach ‘modern’ service agreement

Negotiations to update 1980 firefighting agreement began in 2015, stalled in 2020

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Christopher Anthony Craig Dick is wanted by the Port Alberni RCMP in connection to multiple investigations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Vancouver Island RCMP seek man connected to assault investigations

Christopher Dick, 36, was recently in the North Cowichan and Duncan region

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

Tahsis mayor Martin Davis stands with an old-growth tree in McKelvie Creek Valley. The village of Tahsis signed a Letter of Understanding with forestry company Western Forest Products to establish McKelvie watershed as a protected area. Photo courtesy, TJ Watt.
Landmark deal expected to protect Tahsis watershed from logging

Tahsis and WFP agree on letter of understanding to preserve McKelvie Creek Valley within TFL 19

Most Read