17 cases of COVID-19 linked to Proctor and Gamble plant in the Belleville area
An electron microscope image (ultrathin section, artificially colored) shows a section of a ciliated cell in the olfactory mucosa. Large numbers of intact SARS-CoV-2 particles (red) are found both inside the cell and on cellular processes. Yellow: kinocilia. (Photo: Michael Laue/RKI & Carsten Dittmayer/Charité)
BELLEVILLE -- Public health officials in the Belleville area are monitoring two COVID-19 outbreaks that have caused a spike in cases, including at the Proctor and Gamble plant.
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health says there are 17 novel coronavirus cases linked to the plant on University Avenue, and six linked to a second unnamed workplace outbreak.
Of the 44 active cases in the region, many of those are either workers at the plant, or their close contacts.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Piotr Oglaza tells CTV News Ottawa the risk to the wider community remains low.
"All of the high risk contacts, that we determined to be high risk contacts, are already in self-isolation," Dr. Oglaza explains. "So these contacts do not pose a risk to the community at large."
In a statement, Joyce Law, a spokesperson for Proctor and Gamble, writes that the plant remains open and operational.
"The health and safety of our employees and contractors is our top priority. Since the beginning of the pandemic, P&G Belleville, like all P&G sites, has implemented robust safety protocols including temperature checks, social distancing, mandatory masks, enhanced disinfecting procedures and frequent hand sanitizing to protect the health and well-being of our employees, contractors, and the community," said Law.
"P&G has been working collaboratively with HPEPH to ensure contact tracing is being completed quickly and thoroughly, to keep our employees and contractors safe, and to mitigate risk to the community. Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted... we continue to supply these essential hygiene products from the site to customers and consumers safely."
Dr. Oglaza confirms that the products manufactured in the plant pose no risk to the public.
"It does not spread very easily through inanimate objects, so any products that are manufactured do not pose a risk to customers."