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Nine more Covid-related deaths as meat factory gets extension go-ahead to help social distancing

Linden Foods in Dungannon has been given the go-ahead for an extension and alterations which 'will assist greatly in managing and protecting the workforce in this current and any future pandemics'

There have been nine further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Saturday).

Six of these occurred in the last 24 hours, with three outside that timeframe – according to the official dashboard – which has the overall total now at 1,12o.

There has been no further deaths in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough, where the total number of lives lost remains 113. There has been no additional deaths in the Newry, Mourne and Down district, where the total still stands at 72. A total of 94 people have died in the Mid Ulster region.

There were a further 476 cases reported in that timeframe, with 58 in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 54 in Newry, Mourne and Down.

There were 36 cases in Mid Ulster.

A total of 2,756 individuals were tested.

There are 409 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 27 – down one – of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 16 – four less – ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

Forty-seven patients are in Craigavon – the same as yesterday. To date, 630 patients have been discharged from the Co. Armagh hospital.

There are 11 – no change – Covid patients in Daisy Hill, with nine – down one – in Lurgan Hospital, while there are four – down one – in south Tyrone hospital.

Saturday’s update comes as another local factory plans an extension to its premises which is hopes will help aid restrictions introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Linden Foods, at the Granville Industrial Estate, on the outskirts of Dungannon, hopes to construct a two-storey extension, while also carrying out alterations to its existing boning hall amenity area.

It is estimated that the works carried out by the meat processor will cost in excess of £750,000, according to Construction Information Services.

An application for the proposed changes – submitted in September – has now been given the go-ahead by Mid-Ulster District Council.

It comes after Armagh I last week revealed plans for an extension by Moy Park Ltd to its Craigavon facility to help with the distancing of staff.

For Linden Foods, according to a supporting statement, the development will provide “much needed additional floor space for the amenity area as well as providing additional office and meeting/training space”.

It adds: “The current amenity area was constructed approprimately 25 years ago and is not now fit for purpose.

“Since it was constructed the workforce has trebled in size.

“An expansion of the amenity area has been planned for some time, however, in light of the current situation, in regard to Covid-19, the proposals have been redesigned to ensure the workforce is adequately protected through social distancing and one way pedestrian flows.

“A similar situation exists within the offices; space is at an absolute premium and socially distancing within the current offices is virtually impossible.

“To alleviate this problem the opportunity has been taken, within this application, to provide an additional 375 sq metres on the first floor over the amenity area.

“The extension as proposed will provide office and amenity facilities which are fit for purpose and will assist greatly in managing and protecting the workforce in this current and any future pandemics.”

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