British Columbia

13 active COVID-19 cases now confirmed at Site C project

COVID-19 cases are increasing at the Site-C dam work site over the past week according to B.C. Hydro's spokesperson. David Conway says there are now 13 active COVID cases related to the project

Infected and exposed employees have been identified and are isolating, BC Hydro says

Crew workers pictured during the excavation of two river giant tunnels to reroute the Peace River as part of the Site C dam project. (BC Hydro/contributed )

The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing at the Site C dam site, with 13 active cases now linked to the hydroelectric megaproject, according to BC Hydro.

Spokesperson David Conway says infected and exposed employees have been identified and are isolating.

Some of the cases — 11 of which are related to one another — are believed to have originated in a contractor's offices, which have been emptied and disinfected, he said.

"We are taking this situation very seriously," Conway said in an email to CBC.

Some staff are also working from home and monitoring for symptoms, he added.

The Site C dam near Fort St. John, B.C., the largest infrastructure project undertaken in the province's history, has been dogged by cost overruns and controversy.

Construction has also been slowed by the pandemic.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises at the construction site, Conway said there's been regular contact with the Northern Health Authority and contact tracing and containment measures are being taken.

Northern Health has provided advice on how to reconfigure seating on shuttle busses to increase physical distancing between passengers.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccination program on site resumes April 22 for workers over the age of 40. Around 1,430 vaccines doses have been administered at Site C up to this point.

In March, BC Hydro said more than 2,300 workers were expected to be on site by late spring, with additional workers expected in summer.

A WorkSafeBC spokesperson said the agency is aware of the COVID-19 situation at Site C and is working with the employer and health authority to inspect the worksite. 

CBC has also contacted Northern Health for comment.

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