The construction industry hasn't been portrayed as having the widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 that have plagued other sectors such as meatpacking plants, nursing homes and health care facilities. But there is no national data clearinghouse that tracks COVID-19 outbreaks by industry, including construction, and local media reports have highlighted dozens of outbreaks on jobsites.
(See related story: Construction's COVID-19 record might be worse than you think.)
Here, Construction Dive rounds up some of the larger COVID-19 outbreaks at construction sites across the U.S. and Canada since the pandemic began.
Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kansas
At least two clusters of COVID-19 cases involving seven workers were reported at the Donnelly College construction site, which was shut down for disinfecting after each outbreak. Jerry Katlin, the president of Overland Park, Kansas-based general contractor Excel Corp., told KSHB News that the cases came from five different subcontractors for the project.
Charlotte, North Carolina, apartment tower
Thirty-eight workers on a Charlotte, North Carolina, apartment tower construction site tested positive and the project was shut down temporarily, the Charlotte Observer reported.
During the closure, general contractor Hoar Construction conducted a deep cleaning and sterilization of the site and worked with a third-party company to beef up screening of workers.
Denver International Airport
An outbreak at a Denver International Airport jobsite affecting 14 employees from an insulation company involved work at the A-West Gate Expansion project.
The site was closed for several days to clean and disinfect, and when employees returned to the site, they participated in an educational orientation program to ensure every employee has the latest information about preventing the spread of COVID-19, an airport spokesperson told the Denverite.
Maine Veterans' Home
Health officials confirmed 26 cases at the Maine Veterans' Home replacement project under construction by Cianbro and VJS Construction Services, raising concerns about the risks of employing out-of-state workers, according to MaineBiz.
Some of the subcontractors on the Augusta project were from New Hampshire and other states that had higher levels of COVID-19 cases than Maine, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah told the newspaper. He said the workers may be socializing or rooming together, and that could be the source of transmission.
An unknown number of workers tested positive at the $106 million renovation of the University of Alabama's football stadium in Tuscaloosa.
General contractor Caddell Construction Co. told the Tuscaloosa News that both its employees and those of subcontractors tested positive, so it shut down construction for a weekend to sanitize the site and perform additional testing so that the rest of the project's workers could be cleared before returning to work.
The joint venture of Mortenson and McCarthy, which said that at least part of the outbreak was localized to electricians working on site, conducted targeted, voluntary on-site workforce testing and sanitized the site.
Nashville private school
More than 70 cases were found among workers and subcontractors at a Nashville private school construction site, according to New Channel 5.
General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie closed the site at the Montgomery Bell Academy for five days for cleaning and testing of workers.
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Work on a UNC Greensboro campus building project was stopped for disinfection after construction workers tested positive.
The university told the Greensboro News & Record that the affected workers were employed by a subcontracting company assigned to do work inside the Nursing and Instructional Building. UNCG said interior work on the project was stopped for one day so the building could be sanitized.
Appalachian State University
At least 36 subcontractors working at the site of a $200 million Appalachian State University project in Boone, North Carolina, tested positive in two COVID-19 outbreaks, WBTV reported.
Santa Clara County, California sites
Health officials identified cases of COVID-19 among construction workers at 13 projects in Santa Clara County, California. At least 10 construction workers at a Mountain View development site tested positive with as many as 30 total workers exposed, according to the Mercury News. The project site was voluntarily shut down.
Between three and five workers at two other projects in San Jose and one in Milpitas also tested positive and another nine projects reported at least one confirmed case, health officials said.
The developers associated with the four major projects include Davis Reed Construction on the Mountain View site, Dickinson Cabinetry and CB Group Inc. on the San Jose sites, and Citizen Corp. on the Milpitas project, according to the Mercury News.
The $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, opened earlier this year.
This summer, a continuous stream of positive coronavirus tests among the project's 3,000 daily workers sent 18 workers home by the second week of June, prompting a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health investigation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While project officials continued to provide safety gear and to enforce social distancing and other guidelines, construction, led by the joint venture of AECOM and Turner Construction, was not stopped.
Texas A&M University
A construction site on the Texas A&M University campus was shut down after an outbreak that affected 55 workers and subcontractors, according to general contractor Hoar Construction.
The site was closed for four days for disinfection, according to The Eagle.
Multiple Colorado sites
Colorado public health officials told the Colorado Sun that it identified multiple outbreaks on construction sites in the state, including 26 workers at a school in Kit Carson and 13 building student housing for Colorado State University in Fort Collins and 15 workers sickened on a hospital project in Rifle.
In the Denver area, a landscaping company had 14 workers infected with COVID-19 and two deaths — and an insulation company had 15 workers with the virus.
Salt Lake City International Airport
Seventy-five construction workers tested positive at the $4.1 billion Salt Lake City International Airport site, meaning that up to 5%of workers were sidelined at a given time, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Montage Big Sky
Suffolk Construction confirmed that 116 workers on its luxury resort project in Big Sky, Montana, tested positive.
The outbreak at the $400 million Montage Big Sky in the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club was among the largest in Montana. Suffolk hired a private lab to conduct voluntary testing of workers at the site, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
Shell Chemicals plant
As of August, 35 workers at the $6 billion Shell Chemicals complex construction site in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, had tested positive for the virus, according to the Times.
In late June, company officials paused the workforce expansion amid rising virus cases in the region and implemented an on-site testing lab in mid-July.
Portland, Oregon, construction meeting
A preconstruction meeting for a healthcare project held indoors by Andersen Construction led to an outbreak among 13 employees and three close contacts.
Astoria, Oregon, school
The Oregon Health Authority confirmed the outbreak of six cases connected with a Skanska USA construction site at Astoria Middle School. A school official told the Daily Astorian that the affected workers were outside and did not enter the building at any time.
Shell Chemicals plant
Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals had another rise in cases among the construction workers building the petrochemical plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.
There were 39 active cases among the workforce as of Nov. 12, according to a statement from Shell. This is more than half of the 71 cases that have been identified in the workforce since the pandemic began.
Larimer County, Colorado sites
Five construction companies reported 12 new cases in Larimer County, Colorado. Overall, 10 construction companies have reported a combined 66 cases in total in the county, according to the Coloradoan.
Royal Inland Hospital
Canadian health authorities confirmed seven cases linked to an outbreak among workers building a patient care tower at the Royal Inland Hospital in British Columbia. While the local health agency is working with general contractor EllisDon to try to minimize the risk of additional exposures, no work stoppage has been ordered, according to local media outlet KTW.
Canada LNG plant
Forty-one employees at the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, British Columbia, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to local health officials.
All of the cases are considered to be associated with an outbreak announced on Nov. 19, and all occurred in the same general work location, Victoria News reported. LNG Canada and general contractor JGC Fluor said they are working closely with officials to carry out contact tracing protocols.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to clarify outbreak information reported by the Oregon Health Authority at a jobsite at Astoria Middle School. The OHA indicated there were six confirmed cases related to the jobsite, not six workers.