MORE than 150 workers at a north Wales poultry plant have now tested positive for coronavirus, health chiefs have said.

Following the conclusion of the rapid screening phase for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among employees associated with the 2 Sisters Food Group poultry processing plant in Llangefni, Public Health Wales has - to date - identified a total of 158 positive cases.

Dr Christopher Johnson, consultant in Health Protection at Public Health Wales said: “As of 3pm on Sunday, June 21 we have recorded an increase of 83 confirmed positive cases identified over the past 24 hours.

“Since we commenced targeted testing last Thursday, over 400 members of staff have provided samples so far. Testing of employees continues, and it is likely that some additional cases will be identified in the coming days.

“The increase in cases is as we anticipated when a focused track and trace programme is implemented, and does not mean that the spread of infection is increasing.

“I would like to thank the workforce and wider community for their swift co-operation with this test and trace process. This rapid response is providing vital information to help minimise the further spread of COVID-19 locally.

“We must remember that COVID-19 has not gone away. Incidents like this show the potential for pockets of asymptomatic undiagnosed infection in the community, highlighting the importance of the adherence to social distancing and hygiene measures.

“The deployment of rapid test and trace facilities has helped identify this situation and we will continue to keep control measures in place to bring the outbreak to a rapid conclusion.

“It therefore remains essential that all members of the public, including employees of 2 Sisters Food Group and their close contacts, continue to recognise the vital role they have in preventing the spread of Coronavirus, to help keep Wales safe.

“Employees and contractors from the processing plant have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days to help limit the further spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), following confirmation of multiple cases in the workforce.

“Employees who test positive are being contacted through the Test, Trace and Protect process and provided with additional advice for themselves, household and other contacts.

“I wish to remind everyone that if you or a member of your household develop symptoms of cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must book a test for COVID-19 you should do so promptly to help control the spread of infection.

“We urge everyone to always observe social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others – washing hands regularly, and working from home if they can.

“Similarly social distancing measures must be followed. When travelling you should also avoid car sharing with people outside your household, and ensure social distancing on entry and exit from your workplace.

“If you are meeting members of one other household, as permitted by the guidelines, you must stay outdoors and stay local.

“To provide additional clarity, the Food Standards Agency advise that it is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.”

Public Health Wales continues to work in partnership with the employer, Anglesey and Gwynedd Councils, the Health and Safety Executive, the Food Standards Agency, and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to manage the incident.