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

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

PHOTOS: Playtime is back!

Paula Morrison of Angel Daycare Centre captured a moment of absolute joy

VIDEO: RCMP Emergency Response Team at known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

Abbotsford’s Silver Hills participates in Operation: Share the Love

Local bakery teams up with pair of Vancouver-based businesses to give workers free food

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Golden Ears park expected to be busy the first camping weekend of season

Campgrounds expected to be full or close to full

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Aldergrove man, 60, can ‘finally afford to retire’ after winning $24M in lottery

Ron Cumiskey plans to use the hefty Lotto 6/49 winnings to stay close to home and his daughters

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

UPDATE: Highway 1 still closed after body found north of Yale

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Most Read