Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Coronavirus: refrigerators concentrate one third of cases of covid-19 in RS

The Public Ministry of Labor (MPT) counts 2,079 confirmed cases of contamination by the new coronavirus among workers from 21 refrigerators distributed in 16 municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul.
The number is equivalent to 32.1% of the 6,470 cases accounted for by the State Health Department by the afternoon of Monday (25).
The total number of workers in the 21 units is 24,488, including those who tested positive. This amount, in turn, is equivalent to almost 40% of the sector's workforce in Rio Grande do Sul, which employs about 65,000 people. Together with the west of Santa Catarina, the State concentrates the largest number of cases of covid-19 in refrigerators in Brazil.
"These are the latest data we have, especially because of large tests in some refrigerators," said Labor Attorney Priscila Schvarcz, deputy national manager of the MPT task force to adapt working conditions in refrigerators.
It attributes the high contamination rate to the operation of the units, with intensive labor, agglomeration in transportation and shift changes and refrigerated environments.
"We have pushed hard for companies to adopt an active surveillance system in the face of the pandemic," Schvarcz says.
The MPT said it did not have information on how many tests were applied to refrigerator workers. The state government said it did not have a survey of how many tests have been conducted in total since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Health Department of Rio Grande do Sul had distributed 10,871 boxes of rapid antibody tests (by blood or plasma sample), each with 20 tests, to the municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul until May 14, a total of 217,420 tests.
3,060 boxes were also distributed for stock to the 19 health regions of the State, the Secretariat of Public Security and researchers from the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel). Since March 23, Rio Grande do Sul only applies RT-PCR tests, considered more accurate, in critically ill patients and health professionals.
Thirty facilities of refrigeration companies are the subject of civil investigations initiated by the MPT due to covid-19. Another 13 already work or are in the process of resuming activities through Terms of Conduct Adjustment (TACs) signed with the agency, which include testing 100% of employees, reducing the number of workers per shift and social distancing, among other measures.
The first complaint about agglomeration, in an establishment of the JBS Group, in Passo Fundo, was received by the MPT on March 27. By May 15, the agency had identified cases in 19 refrigerators. In the last 10 days, the disease occurred in two more establishments.
Two refrigerators have been banned and one has had reduced activity in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. In addition to the establishment of JBS in Passo Fundo, by decision of the Labor Court of the 4th Region, a BRF unit in Lajeado had to paralyze activities by determination of the State Court of Justice.
The State Court also determined the reduction in 50% of the slaughters of the minuano company unit, lajeado.
Distant 112 kilometers from Porto Alegre, Lajeado is the municipality of Rio Grande do Sul with the highest incidence of cases of covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants (1,108.4) and the third in number of deaths (16).
Passo Fundo, 288 kilometers from Porto Alegre, is the second in number of deaths (29), behind the capital, with 30. The municipality has an incidence of the disease per 100,000 inhabitants of 244.5, more than six times the index of the capital.
In the monitoring system adopted by the state government, Lajeado and Passo Fundo are under orange flag, which designates medium risk. None of the 20 monitoring regions received high- and high-risk red and black flags in the week of May 25-31.
G1 -26/05/2020 News Item translated automatically
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