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Norway: Process workers test positive for coronavirus

Lerøy Fossen on the island of Osterøy. Photo: Lerøy / Marius Fiskum.
Lerøy Fossen on the island of Osterøy. Photo: Lerøy / Marius Fiskum.

Norwegian salmon and trout farmer Lerøy has announced that two workers at its Lerøy Fossen trout processing facility on the island of Osterøy have tested positive for Covid-19.

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They are the first people on Osterøy known have been infected by coronavirus. The island is a few miles north of Bergen.

Lerøy Fossen general manager Øystein Vie announced the news in a video posted on Osterøy Municipality’s website yesterday.

He said employees are being closely monitored and are being given the necessary assistance.

Øystein Vie: Plant will remain open.
Øystein Vie: Plant will remain open.

‘Not unexpected’

“Of course this is an undesirable situation, but we are a big company and it was not unexpected that the virus would come to us one day,” Vie said in the video.

The manager said that since the factory is considered to be socially critical, the plans are to maintain a normal function.

In a comment to the BA newspaper, he said that as of today the sickness absence rate among employees is no higher than normal for this time of year.

“But we have several who are ill and need to be tested, so we will most likely get more evidence,” Vie told BA last night.

In the video, he said Lerøy Fossen will now continue with the measures it has implemented to ensure that the spread of infection is as low as possible.

Workers quarantined

Vie explained to BA that production has been split into separate pools that operate at different times of the day. In addition, all back office functions are physically separated.

“Those who have been in close contact with the infected are immediately put in quarantine per as the national guidelines,” he said in the video.

He also stated that the company is cooperating well with the infection control authorities and has received good advice both from there and from the emergency preparedness group in Lerøy on how to prepare a safe workplace.

“The goal is to reduce the spread, maintain production and ensure safety,” said Vie.

Lerøy Fossen produces a range of hot smoked, cold smoked and marinated trout products.

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