Several COVID-19 cases have been identified in Tioga, by a contractor who provides services to the Tioga gas plant, owned by Hess Midstream LP, in which Hess Corporation owns an interest.
Contact information for the contractor provided by Hess went to a Texas phone number for EMCOR Industrial Services. According to the company’s website, EMCOR provides maintenance, construction, engineering, manufacturing, and fabrication services to industry in North America.
It is not known whether the workers who tested positive for coronavirus live in Williston, or are rotational workers who may spend only part of their time in the region. North Dakota does not include positive COVID-19 cases in its daily stats for those who list another state as their primary residence.
The state has been contacted for information about the cases at the Tioga plant, and whether they are reflected in the state’s daily count.
The state has also been asked about the source of the recent spike in the daily case count for Williams County. More than 30 cases have been reported since June 25, 16 of them in the last three days.
A representative of EMCOR has been called and emailed for more information about the situation at the Tioga Gas Plant, such as how the cases were identified, and what steps are being taken, and whether the company provides services elsewhere in the Bakken.
Hillary Harmon, manager of communications for Hess Corporation said the contracting firm’s employees who tested positive for coronavirus are all in self-isolation.
Harmon said the contracting firm is using its contact tracing processes to identify all those who have been in close contact with the individuals who tested positive for the disease.
It was not clear what, if any role, North Dakota’s contact tracing team or its testing capacity has played in this particular outbreak. The Williston Herald has asked the state for clarification of that as well.
Harmon said Hess is following recommendations from the CDC and local health authorities.
“Relevant areas at the plant were deep cleaned based on enhanced cleaning protocols,” she said. “In addition, health screenings for workers prior to entering work sites have been and continue to be conducted, and modified work plans continue to be used to enhance social distancing.”
Hess has implemented several COVID-19 prevention protocols, Harmon added, based on the current recommendations by public health and regulatory agencies. An email requesting more details about those protocols has been sent.