Three contractors working for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie tested positive for COVID-19, the company said Wednesday.

However, the contractors were working in isolation and existing COVID protocols prevented further spread.

"I am able to confirm that we have received notice of three contract workers who were on site the last week of December, who have since tested positive for COVID-19," Algoma Steel spokesperson Brenda Stenta said in an email.

"To our knowledge, due to the isolated nature of the work and the strong COVID-19 safety protocols that the company has in place, Algoma Public Health’s contact tracing has not identified anyone at Algoma Steel who had close contact on the job."

All of the necessary cleaning and disinfection has occurred and the workers are self-isolating, Stenta said.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, we have implemented extensive COVID safety protocols in accordance with Algoma Public Health directives and we audit daily to ensure compliance," she said.

The union representing workers at Algoma Steel said it's important that anyone working at the plant is from the community, to avoid bringing in the coronavirus.

“We’ve been concerned about the COVID finding its way into Algoma for a year now,” said Mike Da Prat, President of the United Steel Workers Local 2251. “I was assured that all the proper protocols were observed. They were taken off property and I informed our union health and safety committee to make sure that they went and checked the area to ensure all the protocols were observed.”

The contractors who tested positive for COVID-19 were not from outside Sault Ste Marie, and Da Prat said the union is very much against bringing in outside workers during the pandemic.

“Right now, I think our greatest fear and our greatest threat is from outside Sault Ste Marie – and that’s having contractors brought in. Whether it’s specialized work or not, we think it should be deferred until such time as either the COVID is over, or everyone has been inoculated.”