Silence from Kepak amid Covid concerns

A dramatic 20% overnight rise in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Roscommon has exposed a sudden and worrying trend in this county.

By Tuesday of this week, the total number of cases in County Roscommon had risen to 298, an increase of 51 on the previous 24 hours.

Having been one of the least affected counties in Ireland since the arrival of the coronavirus a number of weeks ago, Roscommon has suddenly experienced a significant surge in cases – with the coronavirus spreading faster here now than anywhere else in Connacht.

Kepak management are remaining tight-lipped in relation to reports that up to 100 staff at their facility in Athleague have tested positive for the virus.

The Roscommon People directed a number of questions to Kepak (Athleague) on Wednesday, but received no response. These questions were submitted to a PR company, on the advice of Kepak HQ.

Earlier this week, management at Cloverhill Nursing Home confirmed that 22 of its residents and 16 of its staff have contracted Covid-19. On page 17 of this issue, we publish a full statement from Cloverhill Nursing Home.

There are approximately 320 people employed at the Kepak plant in Athleague. It is understood that all employees there were recently tested for Covid-19 and that up to 100 people tested positive.

The Roscommon People also directed a number of questions to the HSE, both in relation to Kepak in Athleague and to possible smaller clusters in County Roscommon.

The HSE said that its National Outbreak Control Team for Covid-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants has initiated the development of guidance on the prevention and control of outbreaks of Covid-19 in such facilities. More coverage inside.