11 Covid cases confirmed at Port Elizabeth bakery

Workers at the Britos Sasko Bakery in Sidwell, Port Elizabeth, refuse to enter the factory on June 12, demanding they be given 14 days to self-isolate
STAFF PROTEST: Workers at the Britos Sasko Bakery in Sidwell, Port Elizabeth, refuse to enter the factory on June 12, demanding they be given 14 days to self-isolate
Image: SUPPLIED

Pioneer Foods Bakeries confirmed that in June alone, 11 positive Covid-19 cases were registered at its  Britos Sasko Bakery in Sidwell.

Pioneer Foods Bakeries executive Cornel Vermeulen said all employees who had been  in close contact with the affected individuals were in self-isolation.

“Our protocols have been deployed, triggering, among other measures, isolation, and a temporary shutdown of production or distribution to sanitise the applicable plant and equipment.

“The positive cases were all reported to the department of health and the department of labour in line with our corporate policy and procedures.

“The health and safety of our employees remains our first priority.

“Following the above precautionary measures and the continuous executing of our procedures, we are comfortable that we’ve done everything possible to protect employees,” he said.

A worker at the Britos Bakery, who asked not to be named, said staff were nervous about working in an environment where several people had tested positive for Covid-19.

She said staff suspected that other workers had also been infected but were yet to test positive.

As essential service providers, Pioneer Foods has been working at full capacity since the start of the pandemic, except where facilities were temporarily closed for deep cleaning.

Vermeulen said the company was aware of the anxiety caused among staff after their colleagues had tested positive.

He said while the company had implemented strict procedures in the workplace, it remained the responsibility of each individual to protect themselves against possible infection outside the work environment.

“The results of the Covid-19 tests are sent directly to the employees, their doctor and the on-site nurse, and once received, the nurse informs the unit manager, who than initiates the contact tracing,” he said.

He said: “We have an automated production process with limited human involvement, touching and handling of the products.” 

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