All Keeyask workers to be tested for COVID-19 'out of an abundance of caution'

Close contact of confirmed case at worksite receives presumptive positive result

Manitoba Hydro says it is testing all workers at the Keeyask generating station construction site for COVID-19 after one worker there tested positive and another’s test results came back unclear, which may be an indication of another positive result.

A spokesperson for the Crown corporation told CTV and CBC Oct. 28 that the move to test all the workers, about 760 in total, was being taken “out of an abundance of caution.”

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The person whose test came back with an unclear result was a close contact of the worker who tested positive, all of whose contacts have already been tested. Contact tracing for the worker with the unclear result has already begun and close contacts are being isolated.

All workers will now have to test negative before reporting to the worksite, with the exception of those driving in from Northern Manitoba, who will be tested when they arrive. 

Daily commuting between the site and Gillam will be discontinued and the camp’s theatre, lounge and gym facilities will be closed. Weekend visits to Thompson and other places will no longer be allowed.

Tataskweyak Cree Nation (TCN) Chief Doreen Spence told CBC that she wanted Hydro to halt movement into and out of the worksite until every worker has been tested and that TCN members who work at Keeyask wil not be allowed to return to the community until they’ve been tested. Hydro said it is working with TCN and the other Keeyask partners – Fox Lake Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation and York Factory First Nation – to ensure COVID-19 does not get into nearby communities by offering to support self-isolation of local residents before they return home at the end of their rotations.

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