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Cluster of COVID-19 infections detected among Trans Mountain pipeline workers in Valemount, B.C.

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Vancouver -

Health officials in Northern B.C. say they're dealing with a cluster of COVID-19 cases among workers involved in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project near Valemount.

As of Friday, 16 people had tested positive for the coronavirus at the site, and approximately 50 close contacts of those individuals were self-isolating, according to a news release from Northern Health.

The health authority said those who tested positive are Trans Mountain employees and contractors working for the company, but added that it believes most of the infections were acquired away from the worksite.

"There is little evidence of ongoing transmission of illness among project employees," Northern Health said in its release, adding that an outbreak has not been declared.

"Northern Health is encouraging Trans Mountain staff and residents in the Valemount area to be aware that COVID-19 continues to circulate, and to take preventive measures such as frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and getting vaccinated at their earliest opportunity," the health authority said.

Though it announced the cluster on Friday, Northern Health said it has been working with Trans Mountain to monitor the cases since "early August."

"In light of the confirmed COVID-19 cases, the company has implemented further cluster management measures, enhanced employee screening, mandatory mask-wearing, and increased sanitization across the site," Northern Health said.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project has seen dozens of COVID-19 infections among its workers over the course of the pandemic, including 20 cases last month, according to the company's website.  

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