A picture of the Manitoba Hydro Keeyask Generating Station. (Source: Manitoba Hydro)

Manitoba Hydro says more workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at its Keeyask Generating Station construction site in northern Manitoba.

The site is now moving to the critical or red level on the province’s pandemic response system.

According to a news release sent Tuesday afternoon, Hydro said 20 workers have now been confirmed as positive for COVID-19, up from 16 on Monday. Another 11 workers who received an initial not clear test are awaiting the results of a second COVID-19 test from Cadham Provincial Laboratory.

“We are acting quickly in accordance with the COVID-19 response plan developed for the Keeyask Project and adapting that response as needed – as we all are across Manitoba – to stop the spread of this virus,” said Jay Grewal, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro, in a statement. “This includes continuing our daily communication with our partners to ensure they have the latest, up-to-date information.

“Manitoba Hydro had already implemented the requirements of a code red designation where applicable prior to this declaration and we continue to work closely with public health authorities and our Keeyask Cree Nation partners to coordinate our response to these COVID cases, providing frequent and timely updates on the situation.”

Manitoba Hydro said there are currently 59 workers isolating in special dorm rooms at the site, who were close contacts of those who tested positive and those who are still awaiting test results.

The first case at the site was identified on October 25. Several protocols are already in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including workers having meals in their dorms, and temporarily closing the gym, movie theatre, and lounge at the site.