BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Shell is bringing back a new wave of workers to its Beaver County cracker plant amid a jump in positive coronavirus cases among workers.

After a three-week hiatus, a new wave of workers will report on Monday despite a recent spate of five workers testing positive for coronavirus. Earlier this month, KDKA’s Paul Martino reported that Beaver County Commissioner Daniel Camp was concerned after a ninth employee at the plant tested positive.

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Shell maintains the workers did not contract coronavirus on site but rather brought it in from the surrounding community. In all, Shell says 18 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

The oil giant says it can safely expand its workforce with strict adherence to safety protocols of sanitary conditions, masks and social distancing.

It’s also touting a new advancement in virus detection. In the past week, it has added on-site testing capabilities to detect coronavirus before it spreads.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Workers who arrive on-site with symptoms or fail a temperature test are taken to a trailer, where a sample is taken and brought to an on-site testing center for processing.

Under new protocols, workers will be sent home and receive test results in approximately four hours. Then it will be determined when they can safely return to work. In addition, all new employees coming to work next week will be tested.

After bringing the site to minimal staffing in March and April, Shell has steadily increased the workforce to its current total of 3,700 — about half its previous strength and union leaders applauded their safety efforts and voiced support of the workforce expansion.

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Larry Nelson, president of the Beaver County Building Trades, told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan that “Shell has gone above and beyond all safety protocols, and we are in full support of their moving forward.”