The HSE has carried out an assessment of Wexford food company, Scallans in Whitemill Industrial Esate where an employee was diagnosed with coronavirus a few days ago, and confirmed that there is no risk to staff or customers.
Four potential close contacts of the confirmed case, a sales rep who mostly works outside the office, were tested over the weekend and anxiously awaited results which came back negative yesterday (Monday) while a fifth close contact and three other staff members who arranged tests through their GP's also received negative results.
'If there was any risk whatsoever to our staff or to our customers, there is no way that we would be open', said managing director Gillian Moody who arranged for a deep clean and sanitisation of the entire premises as a precautionary measure within hours of the employee's diagnosis.
The man confirmed as having Covid-19 had been sent for a precautionary test last Tuesday by his doctor. When the diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday morning, he immediately contacted his employers.
The company identified five staff members who had been in potential close contact with him when he was last in the office on July 31 and they were immediately sent home from work to isolate for two weeks.
'He rang me at 11.38 a.m.and I made the first of three calls to the HSE at 12.39 a.m. We have our own policy in place and we are following HSE guidelines but I wanted to find out if there was anything more they wanted us to do now that we had a case', said Gillian who immediately called a meeting to inform all employees.
Advance Cleaners arrived in the early hours of Friday morning and carried out a specialist clean of the whole premises as a precaution - 'I would like to thank them for doing that at short notice', said the managing director.
'We did it to put everyone's minds at ease and also because we wanted to do something while waiting for the HSE to get back to us', said Gillian.
The HSE conducted an assessment on Friday and confirmed that there was no risk to other staff or customers and Scallans is continuing to operate as normal under strict hygiene and social distancing measures which were already in place.
'Our entire management is Covid-19 officer trained. We have special staff rostering. a one-way system and checklists to ensure that everyone's work station and all the light switches and door handles are wiped down and cleaned every two hours', said Gillian.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday afternoon, the company said: 'We understand that some customers have concerns regarding Scallan's Food Factory and Covid-19. We can confirm that yes we have one employee that has tested positive for Covid-19. He was not based in the building as he is a sales rep who is primarily on the road. All employees who were in close contact have been identified by the HSE. Those identified have been self isolating and have all been tested. Thankfully, all tests are back negative.
We have had the entire building sanitised including the shop and the warehouse as a precaution. We are working closely with the HSE and they are happy that there is no risk to our staff and customers. Our team member who tested positive is doing well. We would not continue operations if there was a risk to our staff or our customers. The business continues to follow HSE instructions in addition our own Covid policy, and the operations of the business are unaffected.'