FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Health officials in B.C. announced they have identified a COVID-19 outbreak at the Site C Dam project site mostly driven by unvaccinated workers.
Northern Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak among contracted workforces. Health officials stated that the declaration follows lab-confirmed cases and clusters of COVID-19 among employees across the site operations, and evidence of on-site transmission among workers.
To date, there have been 41 lab-confirmed cases and several active clusters of COVID-19 activity amongst primarily unvaccinated workers, in association with this outbreak. 32 cases are currently considered active, and more than 110 close contacts of confirmed cases are in self-isolation, in either workforce accommodations or their home communities.
Health officials noted that the outbreak declaration, in addition to measures outlined in the Industrial Camps Order of the Provincial Health Officer, and NH Medical Health Officer recommendations, will support implementation of enhanced infection control measures where there is evidence of ongoing transmission. These may include but are not limited to:
- COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing on the worksites
- Limiting interaction between the project workforce and local communities by having BC Hydro restore the control measures implemented under previous Industrial Camp PHO orders.
- 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
- At this time, Medical Health Officers have determined there is no need for closure orders for the overall project, or individual project worksites.
Northern Health stated that it is working with the BC Centre for Disease Control to ensure communication with the health authorities or jurisdictions of affected employees’ home communities outside of BC. The outbreak declaration will be in place for at least 28 days.