BRAMPTON, ONTARIO – Public health officials in Canada said 24 cases of COVID-19 at a Maple Lodge Farms poultry processing plant in Brampton, Ontario, were reported between April 8 and April 30.

In a post on the company’s website dated May 4, the company said an emergency response plan had been implemented to protect workers and keep the plant operating. However, a Global News report stated that officials with the company were aware of at least one positive case in April but waited almost three weeks before publicly acknowledging them.

“In each case, in accordance with this plan, Public Health was notified immediately, and an in-depth investigation and risk assessment took place in cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),” the company said. “Based on the findings of the investigation, Public Health provided directions to Maple Lodge Farms as to what actions must be taken, which we have adhered to, in addition to implementing any extra precautionary measures we deem necessary.”

Extra precautions taken by Maple Lodge Farms include staggered production shifts for better physical distancing; precautionary and frequent deep cleaning initiatives and added ongoing cleaning rotations for frequently used areas/surfaces; and a strict screening policy in place ensuring only healthy people enter the facility, among other measures.

“The Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor deem our increased sanitation measures, along with the physical distancing measures, the additional PPE issued to production workers, and the requirement to wear masks at all times in all areas of our facility, to be appropriate preventative measures to keep our employees well-protected in the workplace,” the company said.

“In addition to the precautionary measures we are taking, we are continuously updating our Emergency Response plan, policies and procedures to ensure we are doing the best job possible to protect our employees and keep Canadians fed with safe and wholesome chicken.”