P.1 COVID-19 outbreak confirmed in PTW Canada offices in central Alta.

PTW Canada has confirmed three of its employees have been infected with the P.1 variant of COVID-19.

The company said the cases were at their Drayton Valley, Edson and Hinton offices.

“Our immediate priority upon becoming aware of any employee symptoms is to ensure they get tested, isolate and follow all AHS protocols,” said PTW Canada in a news release.

The company also said it has hired a third party to carry out a “comprehensive review” of its safety protocols.

“We are working closely with AHS and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety to ensure we are enacting a consolidated effort to monitor, communicate and manage the situation,” the company added.

The news comes as variant cases in Alberta make up nearly 40 per cent of all active cases in the province.

On Saturday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, confirmed an outbreak of the P.1 variant in the province, but didn’t give any more details.

“These investigations are complex and it's important that we ensure information is accurate and that anyone at risk is directly contacted before sharing details,” Hinshaw wrote.

“We also must balance the public desire for info with protecting patient confidentiality.”

There have been around 26 COVID-19 cases linked to the affected offices and household contacts. While only three cases are confirmed to be the P.1 variant first discovered in Brazil, the number is likely to rise as test results come in, according to Hinshaw.

“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,” Hinshaw said.

“This includes employees at other sites who may have been exposed. Anyone at risk is being directly contacted and supported.”

There has also been an outbreak of five cases in a separate Calgary zone workplace, with one case linked to the P.1 variant.

With files from The Canadian Press