August 7th, 2020

 

Statement from O’Brien Fine Foods:

 

 

We can confirm that testing of a further 42 employees has been completed, with six cases found to be positive for COVID-19. In all cases, the level of asymptomatic infectivity appears to be very high.

 

Those who have tested positive have been advised to isolate as per the official guidance. Full risk assessment and contract tracing procedures are continuing. All close contacts of those affected are being notified, advised to self-isolate and to contact their GP.

 

As announced yesterday, as a precautionary measure we suspended all processing operations at our Timahoe facility as of 9pm on Wednesday (5 August). All staff will continue to be paid in full.

 

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Ireland last February, we have operated with an abundance of caution and safety. In consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), we have taken what we believe was the most responsible actions at all times, putting a rigorous health and safety policy in place, testing all employees, undertaking a further deep clean of the facility, and ultimately suspending processing operations.

 

In keeping with that approach, and in the continued best interest of our employees, community and wider public health, we have taken the following decisions:

 

  • Operations: in line with public health guidance, normal operations will not resume for the 14-day incubation period (4 to 18 August 2020). In consultation with the HSE, our warehousing facility and minimal related operations will function at significantly reduced capacity levels to manage perishable goods;
  • Testing during suspension: in line with public health guidance, in addition to testing undertaken to date, a further programme of employee testing will be conducted on days 7 and 14 (as necessary). Only those employees who test negative and meet public health guidelines in full will return to work. All staff will continue to be paid in full;
  • Testing upon full recommencement of operations: in line with public health guidance, upon full recommencement of processing operations, we will undertake testing of employees at 14 day intervals;
  • Transport: to mitigate the risk of transmission, arrangements will be put in place for the safe transportation of all employees to and from work.

 

We wish to thank our team, the community of Timahoe, our customers and suppliers for their support and understanding. This sudden spike is difficult to comprehend for all of us. In cooperation with the HSE and Department of Health, we will continue to follow public health advice and take every necessary action to address it.

 

ENDS

 

 

Note for information

 

Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, O’Brien Fine Foods implemented a rigorous health and safety policy. This includes working from home for all non-operations staff, mandatory PPE, Perspex screens, staggered shift and break times, restricted visitor to site policy, daily temperature checking, changing work practices, communications in five languages, and intensive cleaning and sanitisation procedures – additional cleaning personnel were contracted on site. The Timahoe facility was also fully audited by the relevant inspectors during this time with no issues identified.

 

  • 15 May: one isolated case confirmed (employee believed to have been in close contact with a confirmed case outside of work);
  • 22 May: one isolated case confirmed (remote employee believed to have been in close contact with a healthcare worker);
  • 30 July: one case confirmed;
  • 1 August: company seeks specific public health advice from the HSE and decision taken to test all staff;
  • 5 August: 80 confirmed cases;
  • 7 August: six confirmed cases.

 

 

For more information:

 

Sarah Regan, 360 – sarah@weare360.ie / (086) 896 3312

Barry Murphy, 360 – barry@weare360.ie / (087) 266 9878

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

August 6th, 2020

 

Statement from O’Brien Fine Foods spokesperson:

 

 

O’Brien Fine Foods can confirm that the company has suspended all processing operations at our Timahoe, Co Kildare facility (as of 9pm Wednesday, 5 August).

 

In recent days, an employee presented with Covid-19 symptoms. In line with our procedures, we immediately isolated the individual and initiated a test. Results received on 30 July confirmed that the person had tested positive for Covid-19 which, at that juncture, was our third confirmed case (see timeline below).

 

We initiated engagement with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and took what we believe was the most responsible decision to test all employees which was coordinated by the HSE and a private provider to expediate testing.

 

Of 243 tests completed, 80 have been confirmed as positive for Covid-19. Of the 80 confirmed, the level of asymptomatic infectivity appears to be very high. We are completing testing of a further 42 employees today.

 

Those who have tested positive have been advised to isolate as per the official guidance and full risk assessment and contract tracing procedures are underway. All close contacts of those affected are being notified, advised to self-isolate and to contact their GP.

 

We continue to assist, protect and support our team whom we engage with on a daily and regular basis and we maintain active engagement with customers and suppliers. We thank them for their understanding and support.

 

The decision to suspend all processing operations is a precautionary measure. Following consultation with the HSE, our warehousing facility will operate at minimum staffing and capacity levels. A further comprehensive deep clean of the facility is underway and a full risk assessment process has commenced in the interest of employee and public health. We will continue to follow public health advice and take every necessary action to comprehensively address the risk, in cooperation with the HSE and Department of Health.

 

Since the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Ireland last February, we have operated with an abundance of caution and safety. A rigorous health and safety policy was implemented. This includes working from home for all non-operations staff, mandatory PPE, Perspex screens, staggered shift and break times, restricted visitor to site policy, daily temperature checking, changing work practices, communications in five languages, and intensive cleaning and sanitisation procedures – additional cleaning personnel were contracted on site. We were also fully audited by the relevant inspectors during this time with no issues identified.

 

Given this level of rigour and our comparatively low level of confirmed cases up to this point, this sudden spike is difficult to comprehend.

 

ENDS

 

 

TIMELINE

 

  • 15 May: one isolated case confirmed (employee believed to have been in close contact with a confirmed case outside of work)
  • 22 May: one isolated case confirmed (remote employee believed to have been in close contact with a healthcare worker)
  • 30 July: one case confirmed
  • 1 August: company seeks specific public health advice from the HSE and decision taken to test all staff
  • 5 August: 80 confirmed cases

 

ENDS

 

For more information:

 

Sarah Regan, 360 – sarah@weare360.ie / (086) 896 3312

Barry Murphy, 360 – barry@weare360.ie / (087) 266 9878