Over 50 Hudbay employees are now at home isolating having tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed Jan. 13.
Several workers in the company's operations in Flin Flon and Snow Lake have recently tested positive for the disease, which is seeing faster spread than ever before due to the highly transmissable omicron variant.
“Hudbay can confirm there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases within our operations, as is occurring elsewhere in Northern Manitoba among the general population," reads a statement issued to The Reminder by a Hudbay spokesperson.
"Currently, there are 54 Hudbay employees with confirmed cases of COVID, with a further 31 employees off work with symptoms pending test results."
The Reminder also requested information on where within the company's operations cases have been recently found, and how the number of COVID-19 cases and related absences have affected the company's operations - no response was provided to those questions.
As of Jan. 14, the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon health district has at least 46 active cases of COVID-19. Manitoba health officials have said that recent data regarding caseloads is likely an undercount of actual infections, due to lack of access to PCR testing and people testing positive through rapid tests, the results of which are often not reported to health officials. Another 22 people in Saskatchewan's far north east 2 health district, which includes Creighton, Denare Beach, Pelican Narrows, Sandy Bay, Flin Flon, Sask. and other Saskatchewan communities in the area, are also considered to be active cases.
In the statement, the Hudbay spokesperson said the company provides free rapid testing to its employees on-site in both Flin Flon and Snow Lake. The company also requires all employees staying at its Snow Lake camp to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or to be tested upon check-in and every 72 hours after. All staff who aren't fully vaccinated outside of the Snow Lake camp are tested on a weekly basis.
"Any employee displaying symptoms is required to take a test and to isolate until they have received a negative result. Any employee that tests positive is required to self-isolate in accordance with provincial health guidelines based on vaccination status," reads the statement.
"Our testing policy for individuals who are not fully vaccinated entering the Snow Lake camp remains in place."
The statement also said that 84 per cent of Hudbay employees were now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which puts the company's percentage higher than the general population of the area. As of Jan. 14, 73.6 per cent of eligible individuals age five and older have had two doses of vaccine.