5 cases of COVID-19 connected to Portage la Prairie pea protein plant construction site

Roquette Canada says the workers had carpooled together.

4 construction workers had carpooled together, according to a statement from Roquette Canada

Five cases of COVID-19 have been connected to a construction site just outside of Portage la Prairie, Man., west of Winnipeg. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Five cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the construction of a pea protein plant just outside of Portage la Prairie, Man.

In a Monday news release, Roquette Canada said it was first told about a positive case in a construction worker at the facility on Friday, Nov. 6. The company said the worker contracted the illness from a family member, and not at the construction site. 

The company said contact tracing identified a four other workers who had close contact with the COVID-positive worker. Three of those workers later tested positive for COVID-19, while a fourth is awaiting test results, Roquette's release said. 

Those three all carpooled to and from the construction site with the first positive case, Roquette said.

Another 20 workers who may have had close contact with the four COVID-positive workers have been referred to Shared Health for possible testing.

"All workers currently off-site related to this positive case are from two contractor firms and will require clearance from Shared Health to return," Roquette said.

The company said the fifth COVID-positive case at the site involves a Roquette Canada employee.

"This employee contracted COVID-19 through confirmed community transmission, and not while at work for Roquette," the release said. "Contract tracing was completed and we did not discover any additional Roquette employees who may have had direct contact."

The company said 850 to 1,000 workers are on the construction site daily and that mask use has been mandatory for both construction and office staff since April.

Temperature checks are also done on all people entering the construction site and workers have to complete a daily health check. 

Roquette said cleaning measures have also been stepped up since the pandemic started. 

The Portage pea protein plant remains on schedule to begin operations by the end of 2020, Roquette said.