‘We all eat together’: Worker at abattoir which became one of Australia’s worst coronavirus clusters fear they could soon become infected after mixing with colleagues for weeks while virus spread
- Worker at Cedar Meats in Brooklyn has revealed his fear over catching COVID-19
- Sixty-two of his colleagues have been diagnosed with the deadly infection
- Man said he hadn’t heard from the company since he was informed of outbreak
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A worker at an abattoir which became one of Australia’s worst coronavirus clusters fears he will also be diagnosed with COVID-19.
The unnamed worker has worked at Cedar Meats in Brooklyn, based in Melbourne’s west, for several years and was shocked when he heard about the outbreak.
He said it’s almost impossible to know how far the spread has reached as staff come in close contact daily.
‘We work in different sections but we all eat together,’ he told The Age.
The unnamed employee has worked at Cedar Meats in Brooklyn, based in Melbourne’s west, for several years
The man said he has not heard from anyone at the company since the news broke and he was unsure what was happening as no one had returned his calls.
He is desperately trying to contact his bosses to find out when his last pay packet will be and if he will receive any benefits during his 14-day quarantine.
General Manager Tony Kairouz of Cedar Meats told Daily Mail Australia: ‘We are working to access JobKeeper or any other financial support that may be able for our 350 staff so that they do not have to use their entitlements during this time.
‘Until we have an outcome, our advice to staff is to utilise any entitlements that they have. Like all businesses impacted by COVID-19 we are devastated that this has provided temporary financial uncertainty and potentially financial loss for our people.
‘We are focused on opening the operations on May 18, 2020, and really hopeful that we will get a positive outcome from JobKeeper’
The company, which now has 62 cases of the virus, told staff about the outbreak on May 1.
Authorities initially suggested the first case was identified on April 27, but have now admitted an employee contracted the virus three weeks earlier, on April 2.
The company, which now has 62 cases of the virus, told staff about the outbreak on May 1. Pictured: Medical practitioners take the information of people being tested for coronavirus in Melbourne
Health authorities did not consider his place of work an area for concern, because he ‘had not been an work while infectious.’
Mr Kairouz said one of his 350 employees had been rushed to Sunshine Hospital for an unrelated issue – he had severed his thumb – and was identified as a coronavirus carrier on April 27.
Medics are still working to establish the source of infection.
There have been 6,875 cases of coronavirus with 5,975 people having recovered from the infection
The worker said social distancing at the abattoir was hard to maintain but staff regularly had their temperatures checked and were encouraged to sit apart.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said some of the staff also lived together but the company had taken protective measures where possible.
‘But this facility, as I understand, had taken to screening for symptoms in their workforce, spacing to the fullest extent that they could, to have a generous policy to make sure that they weren’t turning up to work unwell, and twice daily disinfection. But they are well-known places, a bit like aged care facilities and other close settings, where the risk is just intrinsically higher,’ he said.