Public health officials say there are at least two dozen cases of COVID-19 at a Maple Lodge Farms meat-processing facility in Brampton, Ont., making it the latest North American food plant to be hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The company waited nearly three weeks before publicly disclosing the first positive case, according to internal documents obtained by Global News.

The growing number of cases comes after the company released a statement confirming Maple Lodge had its “first positive cases of COVID-19 amongst employees” but didn’t indicate how many workers had become infected.

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A letter to employees dated April 16, and obtained by Global News, indicated the company became aware on April 15 that an employee had tested positive for the virus.

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“The employee’s last day worked was April 6,” the letter said. “In accordance with Maple Lodge Farm’s COVID-19 protocols they have been out of the workplace and in self-isolation since learning on that date, that their spouse had tested positive for the virus.”

“The employee at that time had no symptoms.”

2:39Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to allow select non-essential businesses to reopen

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