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Top doctor anticipates COVID-19 outbreaks at oil sites to be under control soon

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – Active cases of COVID-19 have decreased slightly in Fort McMurray.

According to the latest statistics from the province, there are 1,475 active cases in the city and another 71 in the surrounding region.

28 local workplaces are currently named on the province’s outbreak list, more than half of which are oil sites.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Alberta Health Services is working with the sites to stop transmission.

“Alberta Health Services has been in constant contact with these companies to make sure that, not only are the outbreak restrictions and measures in place, but vaccination is being offered both on site as well as to off site workers who may be then going on site in the near future,” she said during Tuesday’s press conference.

Hinshaw added that rapid testing is available at oil sites, and that COVID-19 variants have been a factor in the spread.

“As in many other places in the province, we have seen transmission increase when variants of concern are introduced,” she said. “We are seeing that impact on these sites as well and, as I said, with vaccination, rapid testing, and outbreak measures, we anticipate that these outbreaks will be under control in the near future.”

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo remains under a State of Local Emergency due to the high cases of COVID-19 in the area.