RED DEER, ALBERTA – Olymel LP tested all 1,850 employees at the company’s pork processing plant in Red Deer, Alberta, after confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased in the local community.

The company said the move was taken as a precautionary measure in collaboration with Alberta Health Services and UFCW Local 401 to protect the health of the plant’s employees and to identify people who do not show symptoms but could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. The Red Deer Advocate said there were 112 active COVID-19 cases. Alberta Health reported 1,336 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in the province since Nov. 21, topping the 1,155 cases recorded on Nov. 20.

“All partners present in the plant, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are also participating in this preventive effort to reduce and control the spread of the coronavirus,” the company said. “The Red Deer hog slaughtering and cutting plant has been spared from the worst of the pandemic so far and currently has 10 confirmed active cases of COVID-19.”

To stop the spread of the virus, the city of Red Deer has been under enhanced measures including bans on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities such as singing, dancing and theater from Nov 13-27.

Olymel asked employees at its Red Deer plant to remain vigilant during this surge of community spread of the coronavirus.

“The company asks its employees to carefully and consistently follow the sanitary measures that have been in effect at the Red Deer plant since the start of the pandemic, including declaring any symptoms, disinfecting their hands, wearing masks and face shields, respecting social distancing and observing all sanitary measures recommended when carpooling,” the company said.