North

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine

There are two positive cases at the remote camp 280 kilometres from Yellowknife. That's prompted the N.W.T.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola to declare an outbreak.

2 individuals confirmed positive for virus at N.W.T. mine

This is the second case of COVID-19 declared at the mine this week, prompting the territory's chief public health officer to declare an outbreak. (De Beers )

An out-of-territory worker has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué Mine, located approximately 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

With a total of two positive cases at the remote site now, it's prompted the N.W.T.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola to declare an outbreak at the mine, according to a news release Wednesday morning.

"Both active cases are safely self-isolating at a secure location onsite and are doing well," the release states.

On Monday, Northwest Territories public health officials confirmed a case of COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué mine. 

The N.W.T. defines an outbreak in a closed facility, including remote camps, as one or more confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 where infection took place at the facility. The statement Wednesday said it's a "high probability" that viral transmission to the second person happened at the site.

However, it said these cases are unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak declared late last week at the Gahcho Kué contractor-operated winter road worksite, which is located 40 kilometres from the mine. 

Investigation ongoing

The second positive case was identified by Gahcho Kué medical staff using onsite rapid testing technology, the release states, before being confirmed at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife.

"The individual is among the 11 contacts of the source case that was identified at the mine earlier this week," the release said.

The two positive cases and all contacts have been in isolation at the mine since Saturday, the release said, and they are away from the general population at the site. Neither of the positive cases were infectious during travel to the mine, it states.

Medical staff are monitoring and assessing worksite employees, according to the release, and the company will test all employees at the site.

There is no identified risk to N.W.T. communities related to the outbreak, the release said.

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