The number of COVID-19 cases within Hudbay’s operations in Flin Flon and Snow Lake since early April is up to 20, according to the company. Most of the people who had tested positive have since recovered and returned to work.
In a statement received by The Reminder April 27, a Hudbay spokesperson confirmed that 20 employees of the company had tested positive since April 7, including two cases that had been contact traced to two separate sources. In a second statement received by The Reminder May 3, the company spokesperson confirmed that no further cases had been reported in the last week.
“There have been no new confirmed COVID-19 cases at our Snow Lake and Flin Flon operations since the last statement provided on April 27,” reads a statement from the Hudbay spokesperson.
“The situation has stabilized and the majority of those impacted have been cleared to return to work.”
As of April 27, all but five of the workers who had initially tested positive had returned to work. The spokesperson did not confirm if any - or if so, how many - Hudbay employees had tested positive for COVID-19 and had not returned to work as of May 3.
After a request for comment from Hudbay made by The Reminder, the company first confirmed five cases of COVID-19 were reported, with four in the company’s Snow Lake operations - specifically at the Stall mill - and one case in Hudbay’s Flin Flon operations in a close contact of one of the first positive cases. The Stall mill was temporarily shut down as several employees from the site went into isolation, meaning there were no longer enough employees left to work at the mill to keep it going safely. The short suspension was first announced April 12 - the mill returned to operations two days later.
Since the pandemic began, at least 28 Hudbay employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
Hudbay reported its first COVID-19 case in its Manitoba operations in October, when two employees in Snow Lake tested positive for the disease. At the time, Hudbay confirmed that both of those cases were reported in Snow Lake residents. In November, at least one worker in Snow Lake - staying at the company’s Outland camp - and five Flin Flon-area workers tested positive for COVID-19.
The company spokesperson said that further health measures have been put in place in Hudbay’s Manitoba operations, including at the Stall mill and at the Outland camp.
“In addition to implementing enhanced measures at our operations, such as offering camp testing to everyone working in Snow Lake, we are reinforcing protocols in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19, including the use of respirators when two-metre distancing cannot be maintained, mandatory mask-wearing in work taxis and shared vehicles, and the sanitizing of work areas on a daily basis,” said the spokesperson.