COVID-19 Update: New outbreak at Harmony Beef | Union calls for Lilydale plant to shutter | An inside look at back-to-school COVID-19 measures

A worker has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Lilydale poultry plant in southeast Calgary.

With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.

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Union representing Lilydale workers calls for Calgary plant to shutter amid outbreak

 A worker with a case of COVID-19 has been reported at the Lilydale plant located in the S.E. The plant is owned by Sofina Foods Inc.

The union representing workers at another meat-processing plant in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak is calling on the Alberta government to temporarily halt operations.

Thomas Hesse, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, said workers at the Lilydale chicken processing plant in Calgary feel unsafe after 19 of the plant’s workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Health and government authorities, company officials, and union representatives have closely monitored this evolving situation,” Hesse said in a statement. “Unfortunately, in spite of recent interventions, positive case numbers continue to increase. Whatever is being done is clearly not enough. The risk of spread is too high, and the possible costs are too grave.”

Sofina Foods, which operates the Calgary Lilydale plant, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

—Jason Herring


Balzac plant hit again as Calgary area records spike in COVID-19 cases

 The main entrance to the Harmony Beef facility near Balzac, Ab, north of Calgary is shown on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Alberta reported that a coronavirus outbreak at the Harmony Beef meat-processing plant had flared back up after previous cases at the same facility in March and May. Thirty-eight workers at the plant, just north of Calgary in Balzac, have tested positive for COVID-19 during this new outbreak.

A similarly sized outbreak 

took place at Harmony Beef in early May

, and the plant 

suspended its slaughter in March

 after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency withheld its inspectors from the plant when a worker tested positive for COVID-19. About 440 people work at the Harmony Beef plant.

Harmony Beef spokesman Crosbie Cotton said it was disappointing to see the new cases. He said impacted workers are self-isolating and production at the plant will be reduced by 50 per cent next week.

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Sanitizing, masks and crowd control: How COVID-19 has transformed Calgary schools

 Pictured is a sign reminding students and staff to keep their masks on in Henry Wise Wood High School on Friday, August 28, 2020. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

Even during a typical year, the first day of school is an occasion filled with anxiety and anticipation for parents and kids alike.

But those jitters will be amplified as students return to the classroom this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Students at the Calgary Board of Education will begin to step foot back on school grounds Tuesday, while those in the Calgary Catholic School District will start their return the following day.

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158 new cases

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