Minnesota DOH: Nearly 800 workers tested positive for COVID-19 on Enbridge’s Line 3 project

Kennith Bogan

UPDATE: July 8, 2021: This story has been updated to consist of Enbridge’s remarks, which had been erroneously left out from its original publication, even though an Enbridge spokesperson did react to Design Dive just before deadline.

Enbridge exams personnel on the initial and seventh working day of employment, then conducts bi-weekly tests immediately after that, and involves putting on masks onsite, social distancing and every day temperature checks, spokesperson Juli Kellner advised Development Dive. The business stated it is also encouraging workers to get vaccinated. 

We have incentivized immunization and are preparing to carry vaccines to the building sites by way of mobile clinics throughout the 5 design get the job done zones,” Kellner reported. The up to date in general charge of optimistic take a look at success throughout summer design has been considerably less than .6%, she said.

Dive Short:

  • As many as 788 workers have analyzed optimistic for COVID-19 on the $2.9 billion Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project in Minnesota since November, according to the information from the state’s division of well being shared with Design Dive.
  • The Minnesota Section of Wellness executed an investigation to garner details about an increase in scenarios in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, that began in January. Wellbeing officers observed clusters of circumstances in numerous configurations and had worries about compliance with primary mitigation recommendations amid community members.
  • The division attempted to mitigate the unfold by escalating testing availability and opening vaccination clinics for the group. Of the 788 employees on Enbridge 3 who have examined beneficial, a few were hospitalized and none died.

Dive Perception:

The Line 3 challenge is changing a 1,097-mile-extensive crude oil pipeline that runs from Edmonton, Canada, to Top-quality, Wisconsin. Segments of the project in Wisconsin and North Dakota have been accomplished prior to the 337 miles of work that is underway with the Line 3 alternative in Minnesota, which utilized about 4,500 individuals throughout the wintertime surge in situations, according to Al Jazeera.

Calgary, Canada-primarily based Enbridge commenced challenge operate in northern Minnesota in December of 2020, shortly prior to a winter surge of COVID-19 situations began in the area. Environmental and neighborhood activists elevated issues that the project could heighten coronavirus challenges in the communities together the pipeline route. 

Inspite of the pushback, union leaders lauded the news, declaring it would carry 1000’s of considerably-essential work opportunities to the location.

Businesses in Minnesota are liable for workplace speak to tracing since they are the most outfitted to detect workplace contacts as a result of schedules, supervisor observations and movie, the MDH assertion said. Even though Enbridge’s safety workplace shared results from its contact tracing, the wellbeing department stated it could not pinpoint the source of most of the infections.

“With an infectious illness that spreads by way of close get in touch with, ongoing local community unfold, and a significant workforce coming and going that is manufactured up of people today from in just Minnesota and from other states, there is no way to tease out the supply of most bacterial infections,” the assertion claimed.

Lots of of the cases have been from roommates and right after-several hours social contacts, the statement stated.

“There are quite a few variables at enjoy, such as Line 3 personnel, other institutions, industries and occupations, group spread, and so forth.,” it read.

Though Enbridge did not respond to Construction Dive’s ask for for comment, Enbridge Executive Vice President and President of Liquid Pipelines Vern Yu said in a push statement late very last calendar year that the enterprise would employ a demanding COVID-19 administration strategy. During the spike in cases, Enbridge amplified surveillance screening of workers from biweekly to weekly, the MDH statement stated.

On other current electricity assignments, Enbridge has instituted COVID-19 screening and screening protocols for employees, such as recurring screening and every day overall health and temperature screenings, as properly as required procedures like donning masks, observing rigid bodily distancing and frequently sanitizing perform parts.

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