COVID-19 Updates

Health officials confirm COVID-19 outbreak at coal mine in Karvina

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The COVID-19 infection has been confirmed in 82 employees of the Darkov black-coal mine, operated by the OKD company, in Karvina and six of their relatives so far, the Regional Public Health Station (KHS) in Ostrava said today.

Public health officers and OKD are negotiating about the measures to curb the infection spread.

So far, the results of some 600 samples taken from the mine employees are available, another about 300 tests have not been completed yet, the KHS added.

“In view of the high number of positive results, the KHS and OKD managements will meet to debate further preventive measures in order to eliminate the rise in the COVID-19 disease incidence,” KHS director Pavla Svrcinova said.

The infection appeared among the Darkov miners last week. On Friday, 11 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The number of cases among the staff rose to 17 on Sunday and 21 on Monday.

The KHS decided to launch the blanket testing of almost 900 Darkov mine employees. A total of 1,800 work in the mine and the coal processing plant.

Both Czech and Polish mine employees tested positive for COVID-19.

At present, public health officers are searching for “epidemiologically important contacts” of the infected, including family members, friends and acquaintances, who will be tested and then quarantined, Svrcinova said.

None of the infected employees has a serious course of the disease and the mine operation continues without any changes, OKD executive director Radim Tabasek said on Monday.

Strict sanitary measures are applied in the mine, including the use of hand disinfectants and temperature checks by thermic cameras when entering the mine, OKD spokeswoman Nada Chattova said. The mine staff must wear respirators, gloves and protective goggles. The common areas are disinfected thrice a day, she added.

The OKD is the only black-coal producer in the Czech Republic. It is mining coal in the vicinity of Karvina in the CSA, Darkov, CSM-Sever (North) and CSM-Jih (South) mines where a total of 8,400 people work, 2,000 of whom are foreigners, mainly Poles.

Since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Moravia-Silesia Region, where the OKD mines are situated, has reported 1,185 infected, 798 recoveries and 39 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the Monday data.

The infection has been spreading in coal mines in neighboring Poland for several weeks. More than 2,700 employees of the coal mines in Silesia have tested positive, according to the association of the OKD miners’ trade unions. Some Polish mines have suspended operation over the infection.

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