Vale confirmed March 29 that an outbreak was declared at Coleman Mine in Levack this past weekend.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts did not issue a notice that the outbreak had been declared, but Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti said the declaration was made on March 27.
“On March 27, an assessment by Public Health Sudbury and Districts confirmed that one instance of workplace transmission had occurred and declared an outbreak at Coleman mine,” Pagnutti said in an email to Sudbury.com.
“We have taken every effort to contain this outbreak and have completed all contact tracing.”
Pagnutti has not confirmed how many people are impacted, but USW Local 6500 vice-president Kevin Boyd told Sudbury.com today that 16 cases have been confirmed.
Boyd said while PHSD has confirmed one instance of a workplace transmission, the union believes at least three and possibly more are linked.
"There are some connections, but not all were found through contact tracing," he said, explaining that some were found through voluntary testing and some through rapid testing.
He said Vale and the Steelworkers have been working closely through the pandemic to make workplaces as safe as possible. In terms of Coleman Mine, Boyd said the union is still waiting to get some guidance from the health unit.
PHSD has not provided any information regarding the outbreak to media or on its website.
“Any individuals who were potentially exposed have been engaged by NEOMO medical for testing and are self-isolating,” Pagnutti said.
She said Vale already has measures in place to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19, including screening, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing through NEOMO, contact tracing and isolation. The outbreak has prompted the company to take further steps, Pagnutti said.
“We have taken further steps to minimize risk. Over the past week we have introduced voluntary testing at Coleman mine site and will be extending this safety measure to our other mine sites in Sudbury in the coming days.”