Nottinghamshire County Council is working with partner agencies to deploy additional testing capacity to Bakkavor Desserts in Newark to offer COVID-19 testing to all staff. This is in response to a further 19 cases, bringing the total to 39 at the factory.
Jonathan Gribbin, Director of Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We have been carefully studying the cluster of cases around Newark. Following a further 19 cases at Bakkavor, we are now working with the company and our partners to provide testing for all of their employees to understand more about where people are acquiring the infection. Bakkavor has a range of good controls in place already and have been eager to work with us on this. This adds to the action we are already taking in the wider community with our partners.
“Tackling COVID-19 requires all of us to play our full part – in our homes, workplaces and public places. Therefore, we are also working with partners to get the message out to residents and the business community in Newark and Sherwood about the importance of following social distancing guidance in full. This includes following washing our hands regularly, guidelines about car sharing, and self-isolating and quickly getting a test if we develop symptoms.”
Shona Taylor, Business Director for Desserts at Bakkavor, said: “We take the safety of our workforce extremely seriously and have been working closely with public health colleagues to monitor the situation closely. We employ 1600 staff, the vast majority of whom observe the government safety guidance. Of course, there will be the minority who do not follow this guidance and where we see these breaches, we take this very seriously.
“We are redoubling our efforts to ensure our workforce takes every step possible to help contain the spread of COVID-19. For example, we have committed to taking action around stopping each vehicle leaving the site to check whether employees sharing lifts are wearing face coverings and, if not, we are offering them to wear.”
The additional testing capacity for employees only will be based at the Bakkavor site for a week from next week.
Members of the public with symptoms of COVID-19 can book at test at a Mobile Testing Unit based in Newark between 10 – 12 August by booking online or by phoning 119 from Saturday 8 August onwards.
Find out more about the symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to get tested within the first five days of having symptoms.