Skip to content

Second COVID outbreak declared at Site C

No need for closure orders, says Northern Health
White tarpaulins are placed over freshly laid glacial till in the dam core trench to maintain moisture content, July 2021.

Northern Health has declared a second COVID-19 outbreak at Site C.

There have been 41 lab-confirmed cases and "several active clusters of COVID-19 activity amongst primarily unvaccinated workers," Northern Health said Wednesday.

Thirty-two cases are active, and more than 110 close contacts are in self-isolation at the work camp or in their home communities, the health authority said.

"At this time, Medical Health Officers have determined there is no need for closure orders for the overall project, or individual project worksites," Northern Health stated.

The outbreak declaration will be in place for at least 28 days. Northern Health says enhanced infection control measures are being implemented, including mask wearing and physical distancing on work sites, limiting worker interactions in the community, and increasing focus on boosting immunization rates.

That includes "developing plans for requiring workers coming to the dam site to have either a COVID-19 vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours, or an approved exemption before returning to work," Northern Health said.

BC Hydro says nearly 1,800 workers have received a first dose of vaccine through its onsite medical clinic and about 1,450 workers have received a second dose.

Figures do not include workers who have received a vaccine outside the project site through their local health authority, and immunization appointments continue to be available at the clinic, BC Hydro said.

“The health and safety of our workers and the public remains our top priority,” said President and CEO Chris O’Riley in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with Northern Health and our contractors to implement these measures to help keep our workers and the surrounding communities safe.”

According to updated figures on Wednesday, there were 1,642 workers reported at camp. Thirty-nine workers were isolating at the work camp, and 69 workers were isolating at home.

BC Hydro said the cases are “a combination of community and workplace transmissions and are dispersed across multiple contractors, work fronts and geographic home locations.”

"The workers currently in isolation are a combination of close contacts identified through contact tracing and individuals reporting to our onsite medical clinic with respiratory symptoms," BC Hydro said. "Isolating close contacts is an important action as it helps reduce the potential spread of the virus around the worksite."

There are 2,200 rooms at the work camp, 150 of those available to isolate workers with COVID, or those with symptoms of sneezing, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, cough fever, or difficulty breathing.

BC Hydro has reported 140 cases among workers since the start of 2021, and 170 cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. 

Northern Health declared an outbreak at the site in April. All 56 cases linked to that outbreak recovered.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks