COVID-19 case confirmed on LNG Canada worksite in northern B.C.

A caution sign is seen on the construction route of the Coastal GasLink pipeline at Hirsch Creek, near Kitimat, BC, part of the LNG Canada natural gas project, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Robin Rowland

LNG Canada has confirmed a case of COVID-19 in an employee who works at the site of its future export facility in Kitimat, B.C.

The company said in an emailed statement to Global News that the individual experienced mild symptoms and immediately returned to their home to self-isolate.

LNG Canada informed its workforce of the positive case on March 28 and said Northern Health has taken steps to inform any potential contacts.

We applaud the action taken by the individual who self-isolated immediately upon experiencing symptoms. Their action has contributed to the prevention of potential further spread,” said LNG Canada’s director of corporate affairs Susannah Pierce.

“Currently, no one staying at the lodges has tested positive for COVID-19.”

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Two weeks ago, the company said it would be scaling back its workforce in Kitimat but continuing essential work that had already started, or that must be completed within regulatory windows.

On March 27, one day before LNG Canada notified its workforce of the positive case, it issued an update saying it had cut its workforce by 65 per cent. It also said the number of employees living in workforce lodging had been reduced from approximately 1,800 to 590.

The same day, the company announced a contribution of $500,000 towards the community response to COVID-19. That included $250,000 to Northern Health for the procurement of equipment and other priorities.

“The balance of funding or in-kind contributions will be directed towards supporting local hospitals, Indigenous communities, frontline workers and local service organizations,” the company said in a statement posted to its website.

LNG Canada said it is following the federal and provincial health guidelines for construction sites and will adjust its plans and actions if required.

The planned LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat is the intended destination for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Earlier this year, that project was the subject of sustained protests and blockades across Canada, because of opposition from hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs.

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— With files from Simon Little

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