Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited has confirmed that 12 persons working on a Shell-operated platform have tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from the company, a person who came off the platform tested positive for the virus following which all other personnel, over 200, who worked the same shift as the person in question was tested.

“This includes both individuals who have returned to shore as well as the remaining Personnel on Board (POB). Of those tested, an additional 11 tested positive, bringing the total number to 12,” the statement said.

“Our production has not been impacted. The facility will be deep cleaned.”

External relations manager for the company, Candice Clarke-Salloum, told Guardian Media in an interview they were surprised to learn about the outbreak given their stringent protocols in place including pre-shift quarantine and testing. However, she said an investigation has been launched to determine its cause.

“This, I’ll be honest, came as a surprise to us so we do need to do this deep dive to see what the root cause or causes are and identify those gaps and what we will be doing afterwards is sharing those learnings with key stakeholders because we think others could learn from this,” she said.

The cases, she said was included in a recent update from the Ministry of Health. She also said the leadership team at Shell was in contact with those employees affected to provide support where necessary. She said the company was also down manning the facility and leaving 29 of 113 persons on the facility.

The Ministry of Health, in an update yesterday indicated that no COVID-19 cases were detected from 176 tests done from samples collected between February 2 and 4. The ministry also released 20 people from its care; one person was discharged from a public health facility while 19 people were released from home self-isolation as recovered community cases.

Active cases now stand at 230.