“Way back in nursing school, we were taught that there’d be a pandemic in our time. It’s quite unbelievable, but here we are,” shared Pat Witty, a Registered Nurse with International SOS as she administered COVID-19 tests to Coastal GasLink workers.
Pat and her colleagues from International SOS, Coastal GasLink’s medical services provider, are part of a dedicated team of health professionals guiding the implementation of robust COVID-19 measures across the project’s 670-kilometre route.
In February, they also began testing all workers as they arrived at lodges – adding an important layer of protection to Coastal GasLink’s workforce and Indigenous and local communities.
“We launched the testing program to help every worker feel safe when they come through our doors. Not just that, we want the communities around us to know that we’re doing everything we can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” shared Michael Gibb, Coastal GasLink’s Director of Health, Safety and Security.
Testing, together with fundamental measures from the project’s COVID-19 Management Plan, help ensure that Indigenous and local workers can safely return to work during this important construction season. These measures include mandatory mask usage, proper hygiene practices, staying apart, and following all local restrictions.
Medical professionals like Pat have administered thousands of PCR tests, also known as polymerase chain reaction tests, helping to quickly identify any workers who may be sick before they go to work. This is a key ingredient in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“I feel safer here than I feel at home,” said Edwin Blaschuk, a bus driver on the Coastal GasLink project. “Here we’ve got protocols, testing, and they want us safe.”
This week, in anticipation of ramp up for the summer construction season, the project is adding rapid antigen testing to our toolkit. Antigen tests yield rapid results and provide more options, such as timing and location, for COVID-19 screening among workers to take place.
While it hasn’t been a typical start to the year, Coastal GasLink is well advanced with nearly 44 per cent overall progress and several important milestones achieved to date.
Working together with Indigenous and local communities, and medical professionals like Pat, Coastal GasLink is on track to deliver a project that values the health and safety of our workers, their families and surrounding communities above all else.
Learn more about how Coastal GasLink is preparing to safely ramp up for summer construction by visiting CoastalGasLink.com/Safety.