COVID-19 outbreak at two CGL pipeline accomodation sites

27 employees between 7 Mile Lodge and Little Rock Lake Lodge tested positive

The 7 mile camp (Priyanka Ketkar photo)

Two Coastal Gas Link (CGL) workforce accommodations have been identified by Northern Health as sites for COVID-19 outbreak.

Northern Health Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the 7 Mile Lodge in the Burns Lake Local Health Area (LHA), and Little Rock Lake Lodge near Fraser Lake, in Nechako LHA on Dec. 20 following which both the accommodation sites have been closed down to all except essential staff.

Northern Health found evidence of transmission between the Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) staff working at, and moving between, the two sites.

According to the news release issued by Norther Health, 27 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and 17 cases remain active.

Those identified as cases and close contacts through contact tracing, will be self-isolating either at their current location in their respective lodges or in an alternate accommodation or their home communities.

“NH Medical Health Officers have, in addition to declaring the outbreak, issued an order that these work-sites be limited to all but essential workers, until public health approves an updated COVID-19 safety plan. Essential staff will also support anyone who is, or needs to be, self-isolating at either workforce accommodation site,” said the release.

The outbreak declaration will continue to be in place for the next 28 days at least.

As per a statement put out by CGL on their website, they were first made aware of a lab-confirmed case of a member of the workforce on Nov. 25 and this was updated on their website under the title ‘December 10 Update’.

”Coastal GasLink has been made aware of concerns from workers and Indigenous and local communities regarding the movement of workers and potential COVID-19 exposure at Little Rock Lake Lodge. To clarify, as the path of work moves from west to east along the project route, several workers from the welding crew were transferred from 7 Mile Lodge to Little Rock Lake Lodge on Dec. 12. The move was for logistical reasons to allow workers to settle and prepare for work to begin in January. No individuals that were moved had tested positive or were symptomatic,” said their statement under the ‘December 15 Update’.

After this, two confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified at the Little Rock Lake Lodge and over 50 members of the workforce at 7 Mile Lodge and Little Rock Lake Lodge were tested for the virus.

“Coastal GasLink has been notified of two confirmed cases at Little Rock Lake Lodge and two additional cases at 7 Mile Lodge which were previously reported to Northern Health and confirmed positive on Dec. 10 and 11,” said their statement under a ‘December 16 Update’.

More COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18.

The December 20 Update from CGL informing about Northern Health’s declaration of the outbreak said, “As a proactive measure and out of an abundance of caution, in addition to closing 7 Mile and Little Rock Lake Lodges to all but essential staff, our contractor PAPC has also proactively closed Huckleberry Lodge, near Houston. None of these Lodges will be re-opened until and Northern Health Authority, with the support of our medical experts, are confident that the plans in place can support the safe and healthy return of workers.”