North

N.W.T. residents who worked at Kearl Lake oilsands site asked to self-isolate right away

Dr. Kami Kandola said workers, including sub-contractors, from Imperial Oil's site in Alberta must immediately self-isolate for 14 days from their last visit.

Chief public health officer says workers may have been exposed to COVID-19 at Alta. site

A mining shovel fills a haul vehicle at the Shell Albian Sands oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2008. The N.W.T.'s chief public health officer is asking all workers, including sub-contractors, who have been at Kearl Lake oilsands site in Alberta to immediately self-isolate. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The N.W.T.'s chief public health officer is asking all workers, including sub-contractors, who have been at the Kearl Lake oilsands site in Alberta to self-isolate immediately.

The news of Dr. Kami Kandola's request came in a news release sent Friday afternoon. Kandola said that workers may have been exposed to COVID-19 at the Kearl Lake site since March 24.

The Kearl Lake facility, about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is jointly owned by Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada.

Workers started testing positive for COVID-19 in mid-April, according to Alberta public health officials.

As of Wednesday, the outbreak at the Kearl Lake facility involved 83 cases in total — including 65 people who are in Alberta and 33 who are self-isolating at the work site, Alberta's chief medical officer said.

Health officials in B.C. and Alberta issued warnings about the Kearl Lake site in late April.

Kandola said in addition to self-isolating, people who were recently at Kearl Lake should monitor themselves for symptoms and signs of COVID-19 during that period. 

She listed symptoms such as developing a new fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, runny nose, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, or general feeling of being unwell.

If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, Kandola said they must contact a local health-care provider to get tested.

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