Thirty-two employees are in self-isolation at the LNG Canada Project Site in Kitimat after a COVID-19 outbreak that’s so far infected 14 of their fellow workers.
“All of these cases are considered to be associated with this outbreak and occurred in the same general work location,” reads a notice from Northern Health. “Specific on-site employees are being screened. Contact management and tracing have gone well, and will continue. Those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate.”
LNG Canada says that containing the outbreak is its “top priority” right now.
“Our efforts are currently focused on the recovery of these affected individuals, the disinfection and sanitization of the impacted work areas, and the well-being of all project workers,” reads a statement from the company. “As well, we remain committed to protecting the health and safety of the First Nations and community stakeholders neighbouring our project site in Kitimat and Terrace.”
Some locals aren’t convinced the company did all it could to prevent the outbreak.
“LNG dropped the ball,” wrote a commenter on Northern Health’s Facebook page. “I do this work for another company. You have to be on the ball.”
But another commenter said risky behavior of employees could be to blame. “Work camps are essentially their own ‘bubble’” with strict COVID -19 protocols in place (mandatory masks, hand hygiene and multiple sanitizing stations, mandatory social distancing) to prevent transmission,” wrote Jay Martin.
“When guys are out on days off and act irresponsible and stupid, ie. go to gatherings, bars, parties, associate in close contact with others outside their circle, don’t wear masks, don’t perform regular and sensible hand hygiene,” he went on, “they contract COVID and bring it back to the bubble.”
The company says that it is “taking prudent measures to help stop and reduce the spread of the virus” and “that individuals working at the LNG Canada project site must maintain awareness of their employer’s specific protocols.”