B.C. and Saskatchewan issue COVID-19 warnings following cases at oilsands site

The number of cases at the facility has risen to 12

COVID-19. (Courtesy the CDC)

Health officials in British Columbia and Saskatchewan are advising people to self-isolate if they’re returning from an area of Alberta where an oilsands site is suffering from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said in a statement that it and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority have begun a contact tracing investigation into new cases of the novel coronavirus in the province’s north that are related to cross-boundary travel.

Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka, medical health officer with the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, said some of those new cases are linked with travel from Kearl Lake, an oilsands site north of Fort McMurray.

“This is based on information we have so far — the investigation is still ongoing,” Ndubuka wrote in an email. “We are also working with community health staff to identify individuals who might have been exposed to these cases.”

The SHA said that all northern Saskatchewan residents should self-isolate for 14 days after returning from northern Alberta, and advises against all non-essential travel between northwest Saskatchewan and northern Alberta.

The Interior Health region in British Columbia also advised Saturday that ”contacts or potential contacts” with the Kearl Lake site should self-isolate for 14 days after their last flights home.

“Many residents in the Interior Health region travel to work camps in Alberta for employment,” a statement on Interior Health’s website said on Saturday. ”There is potential for transmission between communities and between our provinces.”

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said Friday the number of Alberta cases arising from the facility north of Fort McMurray had risen to 12.

Oilsands operators rely on workers from across the country who fly to sites and stay there for several days or weeks at a time, and the sites continue to operate amid the pandemic as an essential service.

Imperial, which owns Kearl along with ExxonMobil Canada, said as of Thursday it had two active COVID-19 cases on site, and 10 active cases away from the site.

Simon Younger, vice-president of production at Imperial, said at the time that the company had completed contact tracing for these individuals and asked other workers to self-isolate while further testing was underway.

The company said earlier that it had bolstered cleaning and sterilization practices, and that employees are being screened at flight centres, on daily bus trips and at the site, including having their temperatures monitored.

It also said it took steps to ensure social distancing at camp and on the worksite.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusoil and gas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SRD rejects ex-board member’s request to continue as Tlowitsis TAC representative

Area D director, Brenda Leigh, takes over as SRD’s representative after ex-Sayward mayor, John MacDonald’s exit

Music education remains important, especially during pandemic

‘Music really does lift people up in times of trial,’ says Sandowne music teacher

Local liquor store raising funds for food bank

On May 30, a portion of sales at JAK’s Beer Wine & Spirits will be donated to the food bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

28 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in ong-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

Most Read