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Interior Health: Public risk low after South Okanagan farm issued COVID-19 quarantine order

Oliver mayor says farm outbreak a wake-up call

After issuing a coronavirus quarantine order for a South Okanagan farm, Interior Health says it has no concerns about fruit being sold by the company.

On Monday, Interior Health (IH) placed a quarantine order on Krazy Cherry Fruit Company near Oliver after two workers tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the health authority, one person was a temporary foreign worker who is now isolating at the farm, while the other worker is self-isolating at home in the community.

Read more: Quarantine order issued for South Okanagan farm after 2 COVID-19 cases confirmed

In announcing the quarantine order on Monday, IH said the risk of public exposure is considered to be low and reaffirmed that statement 24 hours later.

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“Krazy Cherry is permitted to continue to operate, pick, pack and sell cherries,” IH said on Tuesday.

“Interior Health does not have concerns about a health risk to individuals consuming produce from Krazy Cherry Fruit Co.”

The quarantine order applies to all of the farm’s 36 foreign workers and nine additional individuals, who are currently restricted from leaving while further testing and investigation takes place. Access to the farm is also restricted.

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The health agency said, “there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is a foodborne disease and as such, it cannot be caught by eating food products.”

It said the spread of COVID-19 through food packaging has not been documented, that cherries are being disinfected at the farm, and that “at Krazy Cherry Farm, we are confident that all workers wore masks while working at the packing plant.”

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Interior Health also recommended that fresh produce be rinsed with cold water before consumption, and to always wash your hands before and after eating.

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