Second Blumenort poultry plant worker dies of COVID-19

Over 50 workers at the Exceldor Co-operative facility have tested positive for the coronavirus

A second worker at Blumenort’s Exceldor poultry processing plant has died after contracting COVID-19, the union said Nov. 1.

“We want to offer our sincerest condolences,” said UFCW Local 832 president Jeff Traeger in a statement.

“When someone loses a family member or a close friend, it’s a start reminder about how devastating this virus can be.”

The worker had tested positive for COVID-19 and was sent home to self-isolate, said Traeger. He offered no further details about the worker.

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Cases tied to the Exceldor Co-operative (formerly Granny’s Poultry) facility have been slowly creeping up. On October 28, Exceldor spokesperson Gabrielle Fallu told the Co-operator the count was at 50 positive cases, with 15 of those recovered and returned to work.

Cases sat at 52, 35 active according to a November 1 report in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The facility has “appropriate pandemic measures in place,” according to a statement from a provincial spokesperson on October 30.

“At this time there is no evidence of workplace transmission; cases appear to be as a result of community transmission,” the spokesperson said. “We also have seen that there can be a link between carpooling and COVID- 19 transmission.”

Following an inspection, Workplace Safety and Health issued an improvement order to add additional safety measures in locker rooms, the cafeteria and designated smoking areas the spokesperson said.

Earlier in October, a worker at the plant died after testing positive for COVID-19. CBC Manitoba identified the man as Gabriel Deng, 42.

The plant employs about 650 people.

About the author

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Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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