HIGH RIVER, ALBERTA – The Cargill beef processing facility in High River, Alberta, detected at least 45 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401.

UFCW published a letter on Jan. 6 asking employers about plans to ensure worker safety as the Omicron variant cases grow. 

Cargill said its employee vaccination rate at the High River facility is over 84% and the company is encouraging booster shots for workers.

“Like everyone, we are seeing cases in our facilities, including High River, ebb and flow as communities work to manage the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” said Daniel Sullivan, spokesperson for Cargill.

The company stated that the facility remains operational, though at a slightly reduced capacity for its typical pandemic output. 

Cargill added: “Safety measures at the facility, including temperature testing, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, face coverings, screening between employee stations, prohibiting visitors, adopting social distancing practices where possible and staggered breaks have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic and remain in place now.”

During April 2020, the facility temporarily stopped operations after close to 1,000 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the plant. According to Cargill’s website, the High River plant employs about 2,200 workers and processes 4,700 head of cattle per day.