27 COVID-19 cases linked to outbreak at BC mining site

Dec 16 2020, 11:12 am

Interior Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a mining operation in southeast British Columbia.

The health authority says that 27 cases have been confirmed between the following three sites that are operated by Teck Mining Ltd:

  • Active Water Treatment facility construction project — 15 cases
  • Fording River Operations — eight cases
  • Elkview Mine Operations — four cases

The outbreak impacts both Interior Health and out-of-province residents and cases have also been identified in additional jurisdictions, including Vancouver Island Health, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

Interior Health says that 10 of the 27 cases live within the health authority and that these individuals are currently self-isolating.

“Interior Health has been working closely with Teck to monitor local operations and is confident the proper practices and procedures are in place,” reads an emailed statement.

“There is currently no indication of COVID-19 spread into the community, however, everyone in all communities should remain vigilant.”

Teck Mining adds that “enhanced response protocols and preventative measures” are also being implemented at the worksites, including mandatory use of respirators, increased screening of individuals, reducing occupancy at housing facilities, and reducing the workforce at some construction sites.

“Teck is working closely with public health authorities and has taken all necessary steps to manage the risk of transmission, including tracing all potential contacts, disinfecting work areas, and directing all employees and contractors to self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate if required,” says the company in a statement.

On Tuesday, Interior Health also announced a COVID-19 cluster linking 60 cases to Big White Mountain. The health authority says that “large households and social gatherings” appear to be responsible for much of the transmission.

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