This article was published in November 2020 and may be outdated.
As announced last Saturday, Manitoba Hydro is moving forward with a temporary workforce reduction at the Keeyask Generating Station project that allows work to safely continue.
“This temporary reduction helps protect all workers, their families and residents of neighbouring communities from the spread of COVID-19, but lets us safely continue work on the project by following all guidelines under our pandemic response plan and all public health requirements,” Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Jay Grewal said today.
Grewal said Manitoba Hydro had already implemented the requirements of a code red or critical designation, where applicable, prior to the declaration by the Province of Manitoba. The utility will continue to work closely with public health authorities and the Keeyask Cree Nation partners.
“We’re also continuing to support the pandemic plans of our Keeyask Cree Nation partners and neighbouring communities,” Grewal said. “Since the pandemic started the safety and health of all workers, their families and neighbouring communities has been our priority. We’ll continue to take all necessary measures to protect them from the spread of COVID-19.”
Grewal said the size of the Keeyask workforce will be temporarily reduced from more than 760 workers to approximately 550 who will continue critical work including the commissioning of the first generating unit, the winterization of the site, and the safe operation of camp infrastructure.
This includes extending shifts for some workers currently at site and stopping all travel to and from the site, except for a small number of workers needed to continue critical work.
Workers traveling to the camp will only do so after completing isolation and passing a COVID-19 test. They will also be required to continue self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, as will all other workers on the site, and report to the site’s nurse practitioner for a COVID-19 test administered by public health officials should any symptoms appear.
Additional workers have begun 14-day isolations under a plan to begin rotating them into Keeyask later this month. They will relieve individuals who voluntarily extended their rotations or are at the end of their rotations.
Grewal said as with all workers at Keeyask, they will be required to take a COVID- 19 PCR screening test and receive a “clear” designation prior to travelling. Anyone receiving a “not clear” result prior to travel will not be allowed to go to site, will be isolated and required to undergo a second test processed by the Cadham Provincial Lab. Intrinsic Analytics performs initial COVID-19 testing for the Keeyask Project using Health Canada-approved laboratory devices and protocols. Any “not clear” results from an Intrinsic Analytics test is then confirmed by a second Cadham test.
The corporation reports today a total of 24 workers are now confirmed positive. Another eight workers, who received an initial “not clear” in a PCR screening test, are awaiting results from Cadham lab. The utility tested all workers on the project last week. There are currently 45 workers isolating in special dorms at the Keeyask site.
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