Alberta outbreak of Brazilian COVID-19 variant linked to three workplaces

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 6, 2021

She gave more details in a Twitter thread on Monday, saying the outbreak appears linked to a large employer with multiple sites across Western Canada.

Over the Easter long weekend while providing only preliminary updates, Dr. Deena Hinshaw revealed the province was investigating a "significant" outbreak involving a variant of concern.

Postmedia obtained a letter sent by Alberta Health Services on Saturday confirming the outbreak occurred at PTW Energy Services.

She says the outbreak has been confined to 3 work sites in Central and North Zone, where employees travelled between sites. Between the three sites, 26 cases of COVID-19 have been identified, with three cases identified as the P.1 variant, but Hinshaw said they expect more cases of the variant to emerge as they continue to screen COVID-19 samples.

Hinshaw says so far three of those infections are confirmed to be the more risky Brazilian variant, but she adds that's likely to increase as more results come in.

Hinshaw added a separate, unrelated P.1 outbreak was reported at a workplace in the Calgary zone with 5 cases linked to the outbreak, including 1 confirmed case of the P1 variant. Five cases are linked to this outbreak, included one confirmed case of the P.1 variant.

Variant cases now represent almost 40 per cent of Alberta's 10,582 active cases following the province's Easter Monday update, an increase from 27.2 per cent on March 29.

"This includes employees at other sites who may have been exposed".

Alberta Health updated its online data on Monday afternoon, tallying up case numbers confirmed from Thursday to Sunday.

Hinshaw said she is concerned about rising cases, including variants, in the province.

Four deaths have been reported since April 1 bringing that total to 1,998.

On Monday, the province had a positivity rate of 9.9 per cent with 9,102 tests completed.

"AHS has been working with the operator and cases to ensure anyone at risk of exposure is offered testing and quarantines to limit the spread", she said.

There are 312 people now hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 20 since numbers were last provided on Friday. "We also must balance the public desire for info with protecting patient confidentiality".

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