Factory decides to close temporarily after coronavirus outbreak

Published 22nd July 2020

A factory at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in Sandwell has taken the decision to voluntarily close from tonight after over a third of the workforce tested positive for COVID-19.

CBS Packaging, of Brandon Way, West Bromwich, has closed for 14 days to support infection control measures decided among the outbreak control team, which includes the company, Sandwell Council, Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Walsall Council.

Currently 49 out of 117 staff have tested positive.

The company and public health partners began working together last week, after it was discovered that a third of staff were found to have tested positive. Testing of the remaining staff followed this week, and at a meeting today, the company offered to close its doors for 14 days – in line with the incubation period of COVID-19.

Staff will receive letters instructing them to isolate at home for 14 days and council public health officers will telephone to check on their health, ensure they are isolating and give any advice they need.

Sandwell Council’s Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally said: “CBS bosses have taken the decision to voluntarily close because they are as determined as we are to get on top of this outbreak.

“The company has co-operated with public health partners and assure us they are doing everything they can to comply with the advice and measures recommended.

“It’s now very important that all CBS staff members self-isolate at home.  This will help prevent anyone else becoming ill.

“We would like to appeal to all businesses to contact us straight away if they have two or more cases of COVID-19 in their workplace.

“If we act early we can help minimise the impact on the employees and the business.”

Sandwell Public Health can be emailed at PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk or visit https://www.healthysandwell.co.uk/covid19/