Colac Area Health and ALC statements

Colac Area Health chief Fiona Brew and Australian Lamb Company have made the following statements today.

See the full statements below.

Colac Area Health chief Fiona Brew:

“I want to thank all the Australian Lamb Colac staff who have been tested and have been self-isolating at home for the last two weeks.

“There have been a small number of new confirmed cases each day, and those individuals and their close contacts have been instructed to continue to isolate at home.

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“Colac Area Health conducted retesting for staff at ALC earlier this week, with results to be made available to individuals in the coming days.

“It is critical that everyone follows the expert advice. Whilst most ALC workers and their families will have negative results, there are a group of people who will need to continue to self-isolate as they may be considered close contacts of people who have more recently tested positive. This is particularly important for those who are in shared accommodation.

“This means two things; all people tested need to be aware of their day 11 result, and some of those with negative results will need to keep isolating as a precaution until 14 days after their last contact with a positive case.”

Australian Lamb Company:

“ALC is in the process of planning a staged return to resuming operations at our Colac abattoir.

“We are working closely with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to assess the current situation and determine what is the safest and most realistic target date for re-opening the plant.

“At this stage, and based on the information provided to us, we are working towards re- opening the plant on Monday 3rd August 2020. This date will be subject to Victorian Department of Health and Human Services clearance and approval.

“Our return-to-work process is not being rushed. We are deliberately taking extra time to prepare the plant for a likely resumption of production, at a reduced level and within an appropriate timeframe.

“We also have our own policies in place for managing the transition back to work. The ability of our individual workers to resume work will rely upon them showing ALC a negative test result text from DHHS. If they do not have confirmation of their negative result, they will not be able to come on site.

“The plant’s re-opening will also be done in stages, which means we will be putting through a fraction of the volume of our normal processing operations.

“The Colac facility was deep cleaned soon after the outbreak was detected. There will be further deep cleaning of the site this Friday, July 31. Some of the work areas will also be modified to strengthen social distancing.

“Extra health and safety measures will be introduced, in addition to those implemented at the beginning of the year in anticipation of COVID-19. The high standard of cleaning practices already in place are mandatory requirements for operating as a domestically and globally licensed abattoir.

“Our staff are doing relatively well, under trying and difficult circumstances.

“Everybody’s personal situation is different. We recognise and respect this. We’re all working incredibly hard to beat this virus and close down the cluster.”

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