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Valard Construction responds to COVID outbreak at Marathon camp

Company has instituted full lockdown, using PCR testing - measures it says go above and beyond public health requirements
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Five people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Valard Construction East-West Tie construction camp in Marathon. (Valard photo)

MARATHON, Ont. – Valard Construction says it’s going above and beyond public health requirements to contain the spread of COVID-19 after an outbreak was declared at its construction camp in Marathon.

On Saturday, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit declared an outbreak involving five cases at Valard’s East-West Tie project camp in the community, about 300 kilometres east of Thunder Bay.

No further cases were announced Sunday or Monday.

Those who tested positive have been relocated from the camp to self-isolate at a “secure location” in Thunder Bay, as directed by the health unit, said a Valard spokesperson.

The health unit is actively investigating the outbreak to assess the risk of exposure to other workers. Anyone identified as a close contact will be contacted directly by a public health nurse.

"At this time, anyone who is not specifically contacted by public health would be considered at low risk," the agency said Saturday.

Steps taken to contain the spread of the virus at the Marathon camp include PCR testing and a full lockdown, with all camp personnel isolating, Valard said.

“The isolation and testing of our entire camp personnel is above and beyond the directions received from [public health],” the company added.

“Valard has Health Canada-approved COVID-19 PCR testing equipment, and is using that as an extra precaution before removing the full camp lockdown.”

The East-West Tie project is a nearly billion-dollar, 450-kilometre power line connecting transfer stations at Thunder Bay and Wawa.

The outbreak had not halted work on the project, the company reported.

“Project progress does continue as resources not associated with this camp remain working on the project,” it said.