Keeyask Dam project to resume workforce rotation after COVID-19 cases drop

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | November 17, 2020

WINNIPEG — Testing of workers at the Keeyask Dam construction site in Manitoba show reduced cases, prompting officials to resume workforce rotations to relieve workers.

A second round of testing for all workers at the site revealed an additional case of COVID-19 and four instances of “not clear” or presumptive cases.

The second round of testing comes after testing in October revealed 24 positive cases and eight presumptive cases. This caused the construction site to shrink its workforce from 770 to 550. Some workers did longer shifts as travel to the site was halted.

“We conducted this second round of testing all workers at site out of an abundance of caution as a prudent and proactive step to continue to limit of COVID-19 transmission at the Keeyask site,” said Jay Grewal, Manitoba Hydro’s president and CEO in a statement. “We continue to work with public health officials to rapidly identify, isolate, test and trace any and all COVID-19 cases and their close contacts.”

Grewal added he believes the steps project officials took in the past few weeks has limited the spread of the virus by significantly reducing the number of close contacts.

“Workers at the site are doing the right things to manage the virus,” said Grewal. “I cannot stress how critical it is that each of us continue to do the right things and act together to ensure we have a safe environment for work to continue. We are all in this together.”

Two additional confirmed positive cases reported last Thursday involved close contacts who were isolating offsite and subsequently sought a COVID-19 test on the advice of public health officials. Thirty-three individuals so far are listed as having recovered.

Officials added due to the reduction in cases, upcoming workforce rotations will now resume to refresh individuals who voluntarily extended their shifts or who are at the end of their normal rotations.

Manitoba Hydro noted that prior to travelling to Keeyask, all workers, regardless of where they are travelling from, will have completed a 14-day isolation and received a “clear” result on a PCR screening test.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we want to ensure absolute transparency in our dealings with our stakeholders and partners,” said Grewal.