COVID19: Berwick poultry closed due to COVID19 outbreak

Premier Stephen McNeil at the Dec. 11 COVID19 briefing. (Communications N.S. Photo)

BERWICK: The Eden Valley Poultry Inc. processing plant in Berwick will be closed for at least two weeks due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Four cases of the virus have been detected at the plant in the past two days.

“We are taking strong and decisive action early to break any further transmission of the virus at the plant and into the community,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We know this will be a challenge for the workers, farmers and other businesses that rely on the plant, but we need to try to prevent COVID-19 from getting a foothold anywhere in the province.”

The plant, which employs about 450, was closed Dec. 9 for testing. All staff at the plant have been tested, and further results are expected soon. Retesting of employees is also planned.

Public health is planning to open temporary testing facilities in the area and will expand the hours at its current testing facilities in the Annapolis Valley. Details will be available soon.

This asymptomatic testing will be available to anyone who lives in the Berwick area or anywhere else in the Annapolis Valley, and all those who have had interactions with the plant.

The mobile testing unit is also being deployed to the area and pop-up testing is available if needed.

“We haven’t seen community spread in the Berwick area but COVID-19 is a stealth virus, and having asymptomatic people get tested within the community will help us get ahead of that,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “I encourage everyone to get tested.”

The normal incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. Closing the plant for two weeks will break the transmission cycle.