The COVID-19 outbreak that was announced last month at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat has become one of the largest sources of cases in the Skeena–and now there is a separate outbreak related to the site.
The news was announced Thursday evening by Northern Health.
“To date, 15 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in association with this outbreak, and 13 of the cases are considered active. There are approximately 40 Diversified Transportation employees working at the project site and all have undergone proactive COVID-19 testing. Those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate,” Northern Health announced this week.
The previous outbreak resulted in 56 people testing positive.
Dr. David Bowering, former chief medical officer for Northern Health told CBC that hearing about the new outbreak was “disappointing.”
“I really feel for all the people involved, because it really does tend to impact the most marginalized at-risk people, those who really need those jobs,” said Bowering, who previously argued that industrial work camps shouldn’t be operating during the pandemic because of the high health risks of flying workers in and out of vulnerable communities.
The news comes as northern B.C. experiences worrying metrics related to the virus. Northern Health reports, tah as of end of day December 17th, there are currently 401 known active cases and 47 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 19 in critical care.
“We have now had eight days in a row where the seven-day rolling positivity rate in Northern Health is 10.0 or above. No other health region in British Columbia has ever hit the 10.0 positivity mark,” Andrew Kurjata wrote on Twitter.
First Nations in northern B.C. are being hit especially hard. They make up “nearly 36 per cent of people with confirmed cases,” CBC reported, “even though the Indigenous people there make up less than 17 per cent of that region’s population.”