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Northern Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Site C

VANCOUVER: Northern Health’s Medical Health Officer has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at BC Hydro’s Site C project.

Northern Health has determined work on the project can continue as planned with the implementation of additional safety measures. The outbreak declaration will remain in place for at least 28 days.

Since early August, BC Hydro has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases related to the project. There are currently 32 active cases and BC Hydro continues to work closely with Northern Health to manage these cases. In addition, more than 110 workers are isolating either at home or in the worker accommodation lodge.

As part of the outbreak declaration, Northern Health will support the implementation of enhanced infection control measures including:

  • limiting interaction between the project workforce and local communities; workers staying in camp will not be able to leave site for the duration of the outbreak;
  • reimplementing COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing on the worksites; and
  • increasing focus on ongoing workforce COVID-19 immunizations which include developing plans for requiring workers coming to the dam site to have either a COVID-19 vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, or an approved exemption before returning to work.

“The health and safety of our workers and the public remains our top priority,” said Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro. “We will continue to work closely with Northern Health and our contractors to implement these measures to help keep our workers and the surrounding communities safe.”

These steps are in addition to the measures the project had continued throughout Step 3 of the Province’s Restart plan which included:

  • mandatory mask use in all common areas, meeting rooms and buses;
  • reduced work force capacity in offices, and
  • on-going enhanced hygiene and gate health screening.

The recent cases are a combination of community and workplace transmissions and are dispersed across multiple contractors, work fronts and geographic home locations.

The workers currently in isolation are a combination of close contacts identified through contact tracing and individuals reporting to our onsite medical clinic with respiratory symptoms. Isolating close contacts is an important action as it helps reduce the potential spread of the virus around the worksite.

The onsite medical clinic continues to offer workers that are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated the opportunity to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. BC Hydro continues to encourage all Site C workers to take advantage of this opportunity.

To date, nearly 1,800 workers have received a first dose through the onsite medical clinic and about 1,450 workers have received a second dose through the clinic. These figures do not included workers that have received a vaccine outside the project through their local health authority.

For more information about BC Hydro’s response to COVID-19 at Site C, visit sitecproject.com/COVID-19.

Contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468