NOVA Chemicals’ return-to-work program testing 2,000 this week

Cranes hover over the new Nova Chemicals plant rising from the ground in St. Clair Township. Troy Shantz

Tara Jeffrey

Some 2,000 COVID-19 tests were being conducted this week as part of a return-to-work screening program at Nova Chemicals.

Company spokesperson Julia Iacovella said the lab-analyzed PCR testing was being administered over a four-day period, by registered nurses, and “captured Nova employees, contractors and tradespeople that are working on our growth projects.”

Workers who test positive are being referred to Lambton Public Health for additional testing.

The testing comes after a pair of separate workplace outbreaks were declared in December —at the company’s Rokeby Site and its Corunna Cracker Expansion Project.

Both outbreaks have since been declared resolved.

“In response to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the community and to further protect our site-critical growth project employees and contractors, a return-to-work COVID-19 testing program began on January 3 and will run through the 7th,” Iacovella said in an email.

The screening program is a collaboration with local unions, contractors, the Sarnia Construction Association and local public health officials, she added.

“In addition to our strict protocols aligned with guidance from public health authorities, the screening tests are an effective approach to mitigate the risk of workplace transmission and maintain the health of our workers on site.”