A FACTORY worker at a Somerset Müller factory has died after testing positive for Covid-19 and 47 staff have tested positive for the virus.

Some 95 staff are currently self isolating after the outbreak at the factory, which is based in Market Way, North Petherton.

An employee at the plant, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Bridgwater Mercury, who broke the story, that Müller is encouraging staff, who don't want to, to come into the workplace and there is a council testing team on site.

Another employee, who also wishes to remain anonymous, said: "I feel like more could be done.. if I had a choice I wouldn't be working in this environment but I don't have the luxury."

But a spokesperson for Müller Milk & Ingredients said the entire workforce at the factory is being tested for Covid-19 and the safety of its employees comes first.

“We confirm that 95 employees who work at our Bridgwater dairy are currently self-isolating, 47 of whom have tested positive for Covid-19," the spokesperson said.

“Sadly we can also confirm that a colleague has passed away after being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased at this time.

“With support from Public Health England and the local council we are ensuring that the entire workforce at Bridgwater is being tested for the presence of Covid-19.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are placing the safety of our employees first and following best practice as set down by the Health and Safety Executive.

“Standard measures in place include the use of facemasks, distancing, enhanced deep cleaning and hygiene, underpinned by a programme of e-learning, information and audits to ensure compliance and awareness of the measures.

“It is important to stress that fresh milk processing is highly automated ensuring no risk to products, with our Bridgwater facility one of the most modern dairies in the UK.

“Notwithstanding this we have acted to reduce production at Bridgwater as an additional measure at this time, utilising our network of dairies to support."

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “Somerset County Council Public Health team is working closely with Public Health England and the factory. 

“The SCCPH rapid outbreak testing team is carrying out further workforce testing today, for workers who were not present on Monday shifts.

“The testing on Monday identified a number of staff who were positive but asymptomatic, who are now isolating. 

“This is a reminder that anyone can have the virus but not know it, either because they are asymptomatic, or just have not yet developed symptoms, and can be highly infectious and spread the disease. 

“It is vital that workers everywhere follow all the guidelines, not just at work, but while travelling and avoid socialising with other households indoors.”