FIFO Workers Playing Part In Region’s COVID Totals, Though Maybe Not As Big As People Think

A number of COVID variant cases in the region may be linked to fly-in-fly-out workers.

Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, held a press conference on Monday where they tried to end different myths about the virus.

They were asked whether turnaround schedules, which results in more workers on-site, have played a part in the high number of cases across the RMWB.

“We do know that we got a lot of the P1 (Brazilian) variant circulating in the region that likely came in, with part, with workers traveling in,” said Kenney.

There have been 620 known Brazilian variant cases across the north zone.

It’s unclear how many have been in the RMWB as the zone covers nearly every community north of Edmonton. The province is also not providing breakdowns of specific variant strains by location or outbreak.

Though, a local doctor did go to social media stating they had four cases linked to their office.

Mix News has reached out to Dr. McCombe but have yet to hear back.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hinshaw noted the oilsands are only a minor factor for the high case numbers.

“There were some but it did not constitute the majority of cases, so again I think it’s a multitude of different causes.”

The main drivers of the high numbers appear to be spread among households and social gatherings.

Dr. Hinshaw’s statement is being echoed by the Oil Sands Community Alliance.

Executive Director Perry Berkenpas spoke to Mix News where he stated there’s a possibility multiple cases are linked to FIFO, however, they haven’t seen enough information to confirm this.

“If you look at the current list of outbreaks, the sites that strictly fly-in-fly-out operations tend to have lower numbers than some of the others but it’s so hard to draw those conclusions.”

He adds these workers go through multiple rapid tests before they can officially start work on-site.

This includes in the airport before they travel and once they arrive at the location.

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