Sick worker at oilsands lodge north of Fort McMurray tests negative for COVID-19

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The operator of a work lodge north of Fort McMurray, Alta., says a guest who fell ill last week does not have COVID-19.

Houston-based Civeo Corp. said last Friday the worker was taken to hospital with symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus.

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Civeo says it has since been informed by the worker, who was staying at the Borealis Lodge by Suncor's base mine, that the test came back negative.

Civeo says its team followed stringent protocols and cautiously managed the situation to make sure everyone stayed safe.

The company says it has a screening protocol for all guests, contractors, employees and suppliers as well as a quarantine and isolation protocol for anyone who shows symptoms.

Ian Robb, Canadian director of the hospitality industry union United Here, says work camp operators in the oilsands have a good handle on keeping COVID-19 away.

"We have full-time staff just wiping and sanitizing. That's all they do 10 hours a day," he said.

Robb added some parts of worker lodges have been blocked off and non-essential workers have been sent home.

Social distancing is being stressed.

"They're still a family up there, so they tend to have a habit," said Robb. "Habits are pulling together at the dining room table and chatting about your day. Now they have to yell it across the table."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 24, 2020

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