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COVID-19 outbreak declared, 13 infected at Surrey meat processing plant

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Health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey meat processing plant on Sunday.

Fraser Health says 13 workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus at J&L Beef Ltd. at 17565 65A Ave. It says there is evidence the virus was transmitted at the workplace.

The first case was detected on Oct. 8, Fraser Health said.

Read more: B.C. reports 155 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death

Screening of staff is underway and contact tracing is ongoing, the health authority said. It has also instructed cases and close contacts to self isolate.

“The site has been inspected by Fraser Health and we are working with the facility to strengthen their COVID-19 mitigation strategies,” said the health authority in a media release.

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The meat processing industry has seen several high-profile outbreaks since the pandemic began.

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More than 940 workers at a Cargill plant in Alberta tested positive for the virus this spring. Two of them died.

In B.C., there were outbreaks at several poultry processing plants.

Along with the outbreak, Fraser Health said staff members at two separate long-term care homes had tested positive for the virus.

Read more: Coronavirus: Interior Health urges influenza vaccination

One worked at The Village, a Langley long-term care and assisted living facility, and the other at Rosemary Heights Seniors Village, a Surrey long-term care, assisted-living and independent living facility.

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The health authority has deployed rapid response teams to boost infection control measures and update residents and families, it said.

Both infected staff members are isolating, it added.