(Photo supplied by B.C. Hydro)
After more than 40 infections since March 1, Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Site C project in Fort St John.
Evidence of transmission among civil works and excavation employees has been observed, the health authority says, and 34 employees among five ‘clusters’ have tested positive in relation.
Currently, there are 13 active cases, seven (in two clusters) are directly related to the outbreak.
B.C. Hydro the majority of cases are among office complex and dam core excavation workers of Peace River Hydro Partners — the project’s main civil works contractor.
No closure order will be issued for the overall project or individual worksites, it adds, so construction will continue as planned.
100 workers are now in isolation, including 39 on-site, while screening and contact tracing continues.
Isolating employees will also be tested asymptomatically.
On site, the company says employees are screened using thermal scanners at entry and exit points, and project-wide safety plans are being reviewed.
New actions include implementing additional signage around the camp, increasing the number of hand sanitation stations and improving physical distancing measures within office spaces.
The contractor’s construction offices, where the transmission is thought to have occurred, have also been evacuated and disinfected.
“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,” said Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro.
Meanwhile, ongoing workforce immunizations are continuing, including contracted employees and rotational workers.
The outbreak declaration will be in place for at least 28 days.
A total of 93 cases have been reported since March 2020.