Laois TD urges rolling Covid-19 testing in meat plants
A Laois TD and Minister of State says continued repeat testing must begin on meat factory staff.
Deputy Sean Fleming said that the nationwide testing of nursing home staff now happening must be done too in every meat factory continuously.
“We’re going to have to do what we are actually doing in the nursing homes. Everybody gets tested fully, not just the temperature test going in and out of work every morning. A Covid test and every couple of weeks they have to be retested and retested again. Because you can be clear now but you can have it next month. That’s happening now for all staff in nursing homes. The same has to apply for all staff in all meat factories even when we get beyond this particular spike. Continued rolling Covid testing,” Deputy Fleming said in an RTE interview this week.
He said the responsibility lies with managers of the factories to ensure Covid is kept away, rather than on government agency inspections.
“The onus is on the managers of those meat factories that run their businesses, that bring in the workers every day to make sure they have a safe environment. Ireland has worked very well on that basis over the last while, we had quite a low rate in recent times and the community transmission from person to person has been exceptionally low in these counties.
He said that Covid-19 test results are coming back within 24 hours in the Midlands area.
“The HSE confirmed to me at 3pm on Saturday afternoon last that there was less than a three hour delay from somebody saying they have a concern, to ringing the out of hours doctor service and actually having the test carried out locally. I know from experiences of other people locally they are getting the results back within 24 hours. That’s very important along with wearing their masks, keeping their social distance.
“If we can get tests back within the day which we now are in the midland region, we are going to be very much on top of this and that has to continue,” the TD said.
The Minister of State also said that the restrictions will last “at least” until Sunday week August 23.
There is only one meat facility in Laois and as of Wednesday August 13 it had no reported cases of Covid-19. The Meadow Meats (Rathdowney) Ltd is a cattle slaughtering abbatoir owned by Dawn Meats.