UPDATE: Syncrude and Suncor Add New COVID-19 Cases, Both Support Mandatory Mask Measure

Five new cases of COVID-19 are being linked to the outbreak declared at Syncrude.

Company Spokesperson Will Gibson tells Mix News 28 employees and contractors have contracted the virus.

Thirteen have since recovered with the other 15 currently self-isolating off-site.

Syncrude and Alberta Health Services are continuing to conduct contact tracing to ensure anyone who may have been in contact with these individuals can self-isolate and get tested.

Gibson says early investigation suggests the many of these cases were traced in Fort McMurray where the majority of the workforce lives.

As for Suncor, 11 individuals have contracted COVID-19 at their Base Plant.

Shelley Powell, Suncor’s Senior Vice President – Base Plant, says all the cases are believed to have come from the community as none were fly-in-fly-out workers.

Because of this, both Suncor and Syncrude are supporting the mandatory mask measure being discussed by Wood Buffalo council.

This measure would require all residents across the RMWB to wear a mask in a public place or when using public transit.

Those under the age of two, need help putting a mask on or have a physical or mental illness that requires them to avoid using a mask would be exempt from the bylaw.

The Oil Sands Community Alliance, which speaks on behalf of multiple oil companies in the RMWB including Syncrude, Suncor Energy, and CNRL, believes this will help limit the spread of the virus.

“With the rise in cases over the last two weeks and the potential of a second wave, having a consistent approach and aligning on protocols is necessary,” said Shafak Sajid, OSCA Policy Analyst, in a letter to council. “A mandatory mask bylaw is a key approach to ensure community safety, to limit exposure, and continue to keep businesses open.”

As of Monday, Fort McMurray had 51 active cases which is down from the 66 the community peaked at last week.

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