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COVID outbreak reported at East-West Tie construction camp

Five individuals test positive while Thunder Bay health unit, Valard Construction continue to contact trace
East-West Tie tower construction (
Tower erection crew on the East-West Tie project (Valard Construction photo)

Five individuals associated with construction on the East-West Tie transmission project in northwestern Ontario have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) reported the outbreak in a Valard Construction work camp, located outside of Marathon, on Jan.16. The infected individuals were identified in recent days.

In a news release, the health unit said close contacts of these cases that have been identified to date are currently self-isolating, but they're still working with the Alberta-based contractor to follow up on any contacts outside of the camp site.

The East-West Tie transmission line is the 450-kilometre-long power line upgrading project between Wawa and Thunder Bay. The project involves the construction of a double-circuit 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line along the north shore of Lake Superior. The line would roughly parallel the existing corridor.

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Valard has undertaken "measures to reduce any spread of the virus at the site and further measures will be taken as needed to manage this situation," said the health unit.

"Individuals identified as close contacts will be contacted directly by a public health nurse and provided instructions about what they need to do. At this time, anyone who is not specifically contacted by public health, would be considered at low risk. If as the investigation unfolds additional close contacts are identified they will be contacted directly by a public health nurse," said the release.

The TBDHU advises everyone to monitor themselves for symptoms and immediately self-isolate if they have even one symptom, and to call the health unit at (807) 625-5900 or call your local assessment centre to arrange for testing.