Manitoba Hydro has confirmed that 20 workers at the Keeyask Generating Station construction site have tested positive for COVID-19, with another 11 workers with an initial ‘not clear’ awaiting the results of a second test.

The utility’s response at site has been consistent with Provincial Pandemic Response System’s Code Red. All close contacts of those who received a confirmed positive test along with close contacts of any workers identified as “not clear” through the preliminary PCR screening test, are being isolated. There are currently 59 workers isolating in special dorm rooms at the Keeyask site.

“We are acting quickly in accordance with the COVID-19 response plan developed for the Keeyask Project and adapting that response as needed – as we all are across Manitoba – to stop the spread of this virus,” said Jay Grewal, Manitoba Hydro’s President & CEO. “This includes continuing our daily communication with our partners to ensure they have the latest, up-to-date information.

“Manitoba Hydro had already implemented the requirements of a code red designation where applicable prior to this declaration and we continue to work closely with public health authorities and our Keeyask Cree Nation partners to coordinate our response to these COVID cases, providing frequent and timely updates on the situation.”

Steps taken since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Keeyask on October 25 include the testing of all workers at site and initiating a temporary workforce reduction. Table seating was also removed in the dining hall, requiring workers to take meals in their dorm rooms, and the camp’s gym, movie theatre and lounge are all temporarily closed. This is in addition to extensive protocols already in place ranging from mandatory mask wearing in common spaces to daily screening of work crews prior to the start of every workday.

Site staff are continuing to implement additional measures working in concert with public health officials, said Manitoba Hydro. This includes, for example, performing in-person inspections of all transportation from the camp to the work site to ensure all physical distancing and masking requirements are being followed and locking off outdoor smoking areas where employees might congregate.