Canada oil sands work camp says coronavirus case possible, not positive

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - A northern Alberta work camp near Canada’s oil sands said on Monday that it is awaiting test results to determine whether a worker who was sick last week was indeed stricken by the coronavirus as the company had previously said.

Houston-based Civeo Corp said that the worker’s illness is a “possible case.”

The man has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, has been tested and results are pending, Civeo spokeswoman Grace Altman said.

Civeo had sent a letter on Thursday to companies housing workers at its Borealis Lodge of a “presumptive positive” coronavirus case in a worker who stayed there.

That letter “was written with an abundance of caution,” Altman said. “We wanted to err on the side of caution while we were still collecting all of the facts.”

The worker had been taken by ambulance to hospital. All areas where the worker was thought to have spent time were sanitized, Civeo has said.

Such camps are a common form of lodging for workers involved in oil production, construction or other trades at the oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Spread of the COVID-19 disease at the camps could make it more difficult to maintain production levels of Canada’s largest source of crude.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by David Gregorio