A NUMBER of workers at the Kepak meat factory in Watergrasshill who tested negative for Covid-19 have now been told to self-isolate because they were in contact with co-workers who tested positive.
The workers received calls from the Health Service Executive to tell them to self-isolate.
Families and housemates of workers at the plant have been prioritised for testing at a centre in Mallow.
More than 120 workers at the Kepak plant tested positive for the virus after a blanket testing of staff at the factory early last week.
However, sources are now concerned that the number of positive cases at the plant will increase further because workers continued to work at the factory following last Monday and Tuesday’s testing, before finding out on Thursday that their tests were positive.
One woman said: “My partner got a message that his test was negative on Thursday but Friday evening the HSE rang him to say that he had contact on Tuesday with a positive person so he is staying at home for two weeks.”
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed will be questioned in the Dáil on Thursday about the situation in the meat plants.
There are more than 600 cases in meat plants across the country.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has published new interim guidance on Covid-19 outbreaks in meat factories in Ireland, which recommends staff have their temperature checked on entry to plants, among other measures.
It recommends that a permanent screening station is put in place at the point of entry into the workplace for all employees where temperature checks should be carried out, as well as screening questionnaires for symptoms.
“Staff should be sent home if they fail either the screening questionnaire or screening temperature check,” it says.
It also recommends that workers are organised into pods or groups, where possible.