Company closes after 190 staff test positive for covid-19

A Norwich technology company has voluntarily closed for 10 days from today after 190 of its staff tested positive for covid-19.

The employees tested positive within the past 28 days at Ingram Micro Services, where all 795 members of staff have been told to isolate. They have also been told to take a test if they have not had one in the past 90 days – regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

The company, which specialises in mobile phone and computer logistics, contact centre services and repair and refurbishment, has two facilities on Vulcan Road North, Norwich, a busy industrial area near the airport.

Staff have been offered testing on site since Monday – arranged by Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team – and the Local Outbreak Control service is working with Norwich City Council and Public Health England alongside the management team at Ingram Micro to manage the outbreak.

The company’s site on Vulcan Road North. Photo: Google Streetview

Norfolk’s director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, praised the company’s swift action once it realised the problem.

“As people will be aware, infection levels of covid-19 are very high across the whole country at this time. I very much welcome Ingram Micro’s positive approach to working closely with us to instigate testing on their site this week and now to take this swift and decisive action to control this outbreak.

“It’s vital that we act swiftly to break the chain of transmission and prevent any further spread amongst this workforce or more widely into the community. All those who have already tested positive are now isolating and all the rest of the staff will now also be asked to isolate for 10 days.”

Kevin Coleman, the company’s vice-president, said it took the decision to close to protect its staff and others they may have contact with.

“The safety and well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority and has been at the forefront of our covid response since the start of the outbreak,” he said. “Ingram Micro has invested heavily in preventative measures and risk mitigation initiatives with our Norwich site being part of a program driven globally across all sites in the company to manage our response to the covid pandemic.

“The welfare of our team members is our primary concern which is why we have taken the steps we have taken. We remain in regular contact with all those affected and will continue to provide support as needed.”

He said all precautions had been put in place in March last year including changes to the working practices such as masks, temperature screening, one-way systems, changes to the layout and the addition of extra space for staff facilities to enhance social distancing.

Steve Morphew, Norfolk County Councillor for Catton Grove, said: “This is one of those moments we pull together and hold the line so the experts can get on and do their jobs.

“The infection control team and public health are excellent at dealing with this sort of outbreak. I’m pleased the company is working with them and it’s right the premises should close to help keep everybody safe. There is help available for those self-isolating and anybody else who is affected. Nobody should be shy of asking for help or think of cutting corners.”

Norfolk County Council’s Community Resilience team and Norwich City Council have offered help to all those who are isolating including with access to food and essential supplies; access to medications and prescriptions; emergency financial support; and other help for those with no family or friends nearby to help.

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