Coronavirus Canada Updates: COVID-19 outbreak declared at two Coastal GasLink worksites, 27 workers infected

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Health officials have declared a COVID-19 outbreak at two Coastal GasLink worksites in northern B.C.

On Sunday, Northern Health said the virus had been detected at two workforce accommodation sites, one at the 7 Mile Lodge near Burns Lake, and another at the Little Rock Lake Lodge near Nechako.

“The declaration comes after evidence of COVID-19 transmission among Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) staff working at, and moving between, the two sites,” the health authority said in a release.

Twenty-seven cases have been detected, 17 of which remain active, it added.

Health officials said they are conducting contact tracing and screening employees.

Close contacts of cases have been told to self-isolate in alternate accommodations at their worksite, or in their home communities, it added.

The health authority has not closed the sites, but said that it had ordered access be limited to all but essential workers “until public health approves an updated COVID-19 safety plan.”

Coastal GasLink said it had also proactively closed its Huckleberry lodge near Houston.

“Nothing matters more to us than safety,” the company said in an update on its website.

“In addition to immediately supporting the work on a re-start plan for these lodges, we will continue to review all plans in place and work with our contractors, Norther Health and our medical experts to implement changes or improvements where necessary.”

Coastal GasLink said 42 of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The outbreak comes after two unrelated outbreaks at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat.

In March, First Nations leaders had called on provincial and federal officials to pause construction on the controversial pipeline, amid concerns it could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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