This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. nbsp; (NIAID-RML via AP)

PTW Canada confirms COVID-19 P.1 variant outbreak at offices in central Alberta

PTW Canada has confirmed three COVID-19 P.1 variant cases at its offices in Drayton Valley, Edson and Hinton.

Over the weekend, Alberta chief medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted about an Alberta Health investigation into a potential outbreak of the Brazilian variant, linked to a returning traveller.

Monday, Hinshaw said that the outbreak involved a large employer at multiple sites across Western Canada, without naming the company. She also said that the outbreak was confined to three worksites in the Central and North zone.

Alberta Health later identified 26 COVID-19 cases connected to the three sites and their household, but only three have been confirmed as the P.1 variant.

“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. This includes employees at other sites who may have been exposed,” Hinshaw tweeted Monday.

The energy services company, with offices across Alberta including Red Deer, said they have strict COVID-19 safety protocols in effect.

“Our immediate priority upon becoming aware of any employee symptoms is to ensure they get tested, isolate and follow all AHS protocols. PTW has hired a third party to carry out a comprehensive review,” the company said in a news release.

“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, with the health and safety of our employees, communities and Albertans as our top priority.”

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