COVID-19 has forced a seven-day lockdown in New South Wales’ central west, with NSW Health listing five exposure sites after an employee at the Nestlé Purina factory in Blayney tested positive to the virus.
A Nestlé spokesperson told Food & Drink Business it was advised on Tuesday morning of the case, and that NSW Health had asked the company to close the site.
The Nestlé employee had been in contact with an infected truck driver from Sydney who was at the site last week. They have been in isolation since Sunday and were doing “reasonably well”.
“The person is among the small number of people identified by NSW Health as close contacts of a truck driver who tested positive following visiting the site last week. All close contacts have been tested, and all have been directed to self-isolate by NSW Health,” the spokesperson said.
“Our immediate concern since becoming aware of the possibility of contact at the site has been to protect our workers and the community.”
The Blayney site employs more than 280 staff and supports around 60 local businesses and contractors. It is currently undergoing a $90 million upgrade, which is due for completion in 2022. Nestlé has invested around $200 million in the site in the last 10 years, which functions as its Purina PetCare pet food factory, manufacturing Proplan, Supercoat, Felix, Fancy Feast and Purina One.
“We decided to close the factory on Sunday and commence professional deep cleaning of the site. We also instructed everyone who works on the site to have a COVID-19 test and only return to work following a negative result.”
The company has urged everyone who works at the site, their families and broader community to minimise their movements and follow NSW Health instructions.
“We have actively traced movements of people on site and continue to provide every assistance to NSW Health,” said the spokesperson.
Roughly half of Australia’s population – around 14 million people – is now in lockdown.
Government assistance for SMEs was announced last week.