Alberta meat-processing plant linked to Canada’s largest COVID-19 outbreak to reopen within days

The Cargill meat-packing plant near High River, Alta. — the location of the largest COVID-19 outbreak linked to a single site in Canada — will reopen with one shift beginning May 4, the company announced Wednesday.

 As of Tuesday, the facility has been linked with 1,167 cases, 759 of whom are workers. One worker in her 60s has died and her husband was hospitalized with the illness.

“We look forward to welcoming our employees back and are focused on our ongoing commitment to safety,” Jon Nash, Cargill Protein’s North American lead, said in a release Wednesday. 

“We know being an essential worker is challenging and we thank our team for working so hard to deliver food for local families, access to markets for ranchers and products for our customers’ shelves.”

UFCW local 401 spokesperson Michael Hughes said the union was not informed ahead of time that the facility was set to reopen.

“We’ve learned this at the same time everyone else has,” Hughes said.

“It’s incredibly concerning that Cargill would be even thinking of reopening in a matter of days while presiding over the biggest outbreak in [Canada].

“And while half of its employees are sick with COVID-19.”

More to come.