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Coquitlam poultry plant re-opened following outbreak

The plant has been site of dozens of COVID-19 infections.
An employee at the Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. mans the gate Thursday with a infrared thermomet
An employee at the Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. mans the gate Thursday, April 23, with a infrared thermometer in hand. The plant was put on lockdown while a team of health care workers from Fraser Health tested the over 200-person workforce for COVID-19.

The Coquitlam poultry plant at the centre of the Tri-Cities largest outbreak has received approval from Fraser Health to re-open after the health authority rescinded its April 24 closure order today. 

“The plant has reopened with measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Fraser Health will continue to work closely with Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. to maintain the health and safety of staff during this pandemic,” said a spokesperson from Fraser Health in a press release Thursday.

Of the over 270 workers, at least 61 have tested postive for the coronavirus and many remain in self-isolation at home.

In a call with reporters, Fraser Health’s top doctor, Dr. Martin Lavoie, said the facility had met all the requirements to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus between staff. 

In WorkSafeBC inspection documents previously obtained by the Tri-City News, an inspector noted workers were unable to maintain a two-metre distance that helps stem the spread of COVID-19 while working on the production line.

The solution, said Dr. Lavoie, was to install plexiglass dividers between all the workers.

Lavoie added that Fraser Health will continue to work with Superior Poultry to help prevent another wave of COVID-19.