Kearl Lake oil sands project, north of Fort McMurray. (Imperial Oil/Facebook)

Kearl Lake workers from B.C. reminded to self-isolate due to COVID-19

15 laboratory-confirmed worker cases in B.C., 12 of which in Interior Health

Workers returning to B.C. from the Kearl Lake site in Alberta are reminded that they are required to self-isolate for 14 days because they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and could spread it to their families or communities, according to the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). The order has been in place since April 20.

RELATED: B.C. finds seven Alberta oilsands workers with COVID-19

“The entire Kearl Lake oil sands project is being treated as an outbreak site by B.C. Anyone who has been on site since March 24 may have been exposed to COVID-19. Workers may be travelling back and forth to the site for essential work and are required to self-isolate for 14 days every time they return to B.C.”

To date, there have been 15 laboratory-confirmed cases in B.C. among workers from the Kearl site, according to PHSA. There is one further presumed case among a person who was at Kearl Lake and reported symptoms but was not tested.

Most of those cases have been in the Interior Health (IH) region.

IH has 12 confirmed cases among workers from Kearl Lake, as well as seven confirmed cases of people who did not travel to Kearl Lake but had contact with a worker, according to Susan Duncan, Interior Health Communications.

“Of these 19 cases, 16 have recovered.”

Workers and their families should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and if any symptoms develop, however mild, self-isolate and contact their healthcare provider or 8-1-1 to get tested, according to PHSA. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or painful swallowing, runny or stuffy nose, loss of sense of smell, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

They note that Kearl Lake employers may have provided different advice to employees but that B.C. workers must follow the B.C. order.

Instructions on self-isolation after an exposure are available on the self-isolation page of the BCCDC website.


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