COVID-19 outbreak declared at Site C after more than 40 people test positive in past 2 months: BC Hydro
VANCOUVER -- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a work camp used for a BC Hydro project after several people tested positive for the disease.
The Crown corporation issued a noticed about the outbreak at Site C Thursday. BC Hydro says there has been "an increase in the number cases" among Peace River Hydro Partners, the primary civil works contractor for the project.
BC Hydro says while Northern Health has declared the outbreak, there is no need to stop work on the project.
The corporation says since the beginning of March, more than 40 cases of the coronavirus have been reported at Site C. Of those, 13 cases are still active and 100 workers are in isolation.
Seven of the active cases are "directly linked to the outbreak", BC Hydro says.
"Over the last year, we’ve implemented a comprehensive plan to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at Site C, including aligning with health guidelines, screening every person accessing the site daily, using thermal scanners at various entry and exit points, and maintaining increased cleaning and physical distancing," said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro, in a news release.
"However, the declaration of the outbreak demonstrates that we need to do better, and we will. In addition to the steps we are already taking, we will look to implement further measures in the coming days."
Other cases of the disease have previously been recorded at the work site, including individual cases last July, September and October. All those cases were unrelated, however.
BC Hydro says along with isolating employees who may have been exposed, the contractor's construction offices have been evacuated and thoroughly disinfected. Asymptomatic testing is being offered to those in isolation and physical distancing measures are being improved in office spaces.
"The health and safety of our workers and the public remains our top priority," O’Riley said.
"We continue to work with Northern Health to manage this outbreak and ensure all health guidelines to protect workers and community members are being followed."
Northern Health says the outbreak declaration will stay in place for at least 28 days.