Spike in coronavirus cases in slaughterhouse

Authorities set up a mobile testing centre at the Danish Crown slaughterhouse in Ringsted after 16 employees tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, demand for face masks increases

Danish Crown has reported a spike in the number of coronavirus infections at its slaughterhouse in Ringsted from three to 16, adding that it sent home 80 employees.

The food processing company said on Wednesday that three employees first tested positive for COVID-19 but contact tracing later showed that 13 others also got infected. The company and authorities have set up a mobile testing centre at the slaughterhouse to limit the outbreak.

“We are in a serious situation where we have full focus on the safety of employees and on breaking the chains of infection,” said Per Laursen, production director at Danish Crown.

“When and how much to test will be controlled by the authorities from here so we ensure that the effort is as effective as possible,” he added.

Two test rounds
Following the outbreak, the company sent home 80 employees as they are considered to have come in contact with those infected.

For them to return to work, they should take two rounds of coronavirus tests and have two negative results.

The Ringsted slaughterhouse has been running at half capacity since Monday as a result of the infections.

Demand for masks up
The rise in infections at the slaughterhouse comes as pharmacies report an increase in demand for face masks.

Price comparison site Pricerunner recorded a 691 percent increase in searches for face masks in July compared to January. In April, the demand for masks was 334 percent higher than in January.

Pharmaceutical wholesaler Nomeco told DR that it believes that the increase in demand for face masks stems from a debate among authorities and health experts on whether or not to require their use in public to avoid the spread of the virus.

The government has so far not mandated the use of masks but modified its guidelines to say that those looking to be tested for COVID-19 could use them. Masks are also required at airports and in some amusement parks.