VANCOUVER: BC Hydro has been notified by the Medical Health Officer of Northern Health that an outbreak has been declared on the Site C project. This step has been taken to ensure the health and safety of its workforce and members of the public.
The outbreak is among workers of Peace River Hydro Partners, the project’s main civil works contractor, specifically those working in the contractor’s office complex and on the dam core excavation. Northern Health has determined there is no need to stop work on the project, and work will continue as planned.
Over the past several weeks, there has been an increase in the number of cases on site. Since the beginning of March, there have been more than 40 cases of COVID-19 reported at Site C. There are currently 13 active cases and 100 workers isolating at home or on site. Of those 13 active cases, seven cases (in two active clusters) are directly linked to the outbreak declaration.
BC Hydro has been in regular contact with Northern Health about these cases and they have supported the contact tracing and containment measures that have been taken so far. The outbreak declaration will remain in place for at least 28 days.
“Over the last year, we’ve implemented a comprehensive plan to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at Site C, including aligning with health guidelines, screening every person accessing the site daily, using thermal scanners at various entry and exit points, and maintaining increased cleaning and physical distancing,” said Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro. “However, 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.”
In addition to the measures already in place, steps have been taken including identifying and isolating any employees who may have been exposed, as well as evacuating and thoroughly disinfecting the contractor’s construction offices. With the support of Northern Health, asymptomatic testing of people in isolation is also being conducted to support further contact tracing. New actions include implementing additional signage around the camp to encourage compliance, increasing the number of hand sanitation stations and improving physical distancing measures within office spaces.
“The health and safety of our workers and the public remains our top priority,” added O’Riley. “We continue to work with Northern Health to manage this outbreak and ensure all health guidelines to protect workers and community members are being followed.”
For more information about BC Hydro’s response to COVID-19 at Site C, visit www.sitecproject.com/COVID-19.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468