Keeyask limiting in-person contact, doing COVID-19 tests on people for leaving for medical reasons

With Manitoba Hydro’s under-construction Keeyask generating station having scaled back operations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, new procedures have been implemented to reduce contact between people inside the facility and the outside world.

A spokesperson for the Crown corporation says anyone arriving at the site without prior authorization will be turned away at the gate and not allowed to enter, while delivery vehicles bringing required materials and supplies are being unloaded by on-site Keeyask staff, with the drivers required to remain in their vehicles. For smaller items like mail or other envelopes, arrangements are made for the delivery person to leave them at the gate, where on-site employees can retrieve them without the need for person-to-person contact.

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As of March 21, anyone being referred for medical treatment offsite as a precaution must be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving, with the sample sent to Winnipeg. Before that, whether people transported from the site for health reasons were tested was up to medical staff in their home communities.

There have not been any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among any workers at Keeyask, said Hydro’s spokesperson.

When it was announced March 18 that operations at Keeyask would be scaled back, Manitoba Hydro tried to ensure key staff who were then off-site returned by the end of the following day. Workers who required more time to get back to the site are being screened according to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living guidelines before being allowed back onsite. If key staff not currently at Keeyask need to return during the four to eight weeks that scaled-back operations are currently planned for, they will be screened before being admitted.

Any employees remaining at the site who wish to leave due to family emergencies or other exceptional circumstance will have their situations reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

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