Additional measures taken to help control COVID-19 outbreak among Bernard Matthews staff

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Joint news article on behalf of Public Health Suffolk, Public Health Norfolk, Public Health England and Bernard Matthews.

Additional precautionary measures have been put in place to control further the outbreak of COVID-19 among Bernard Matthews staff in Holton, near Halesworth.

Whilst Bernard Matthews can not prevent their staff from being exposed to COVID-19 off-site, at home and in the community, they have introduced extra on-site measures to protect staff. New entrances have been created to aid one-way movement of staff, breaks are being staggered, more working bubbles have been created and bus marshals have been rolled out on the firm’s free staff transport. This is in addition to measures which have been in place at the facility since March 2020.

Staff who have tested positive and have completed their self-isolation at home have now been able to return to work safety. The total number of cases among staff stands at 53 since the outbreak started, with 39 people who have tested positive currently self-isolating and being supported by Bernard Matthews and public sector agencies.

Most staff who have been tested returned negative results. Food production and safety is unaffected.

Officials from Suffolk County Council, Public Health Suffolk, Public Health England, Public Health Norfolk, East Suffolk Council, Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group and Bernard Matthews are working together to manage the situation.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said:

“I welcome the additional measures Bernard Matthews’ management team has put in place to control this outbreak. They’ve acted quickly and are working well with public health colleagues.

“These additional measures, both within the factory and on their staff transport, add to the strong and clear messages we have been giving to their staff and the wider public.

“Everyone must remain alert and keep following the social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing advice. Together, we will be able to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Teams from Suffolk and Norfolk are out in the community working with residents to provide advice and support to people who are affected and reminding them how to keep safe.

As was the situation with the 18 positive cases announced on Monday, most of these new cases live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas. Everyone is therefore reminded of the importance of following government guidance around social distancing, washing hands and wearing face coverings.

If anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away and arrange a COVID-19 test.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate immediately and apply for a test. Testing is free and easy. Find out more at nhs.uk.