6 new COVID-19 cases in N.W.T., 5 linked to outbreak at Gahcho Kué mine

Health officials in the N.W.T. confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 in the territory on Wednesday, with five of those cases linked to an outbreak at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine and one in Yellowknife related to domestic travel.

5 cases related to outbreak at Gahcho Kué diamond mine, 1 in Yellowknife related to travel

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine was declared two weeks ago and the mine has suspended operations. So far there have been 15 cases related to the outbreak, and 12 are considered active. (De Beers )

Health officials in the N.W.T. confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 in the territory on Wednesday, with five of those cases linked to an outbreak at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine.

The outbreak at the mine site was declared two weeks ago and so far there have been 15 related cases. Three have recovered and 12 are considered active.

The sixth new case announced on Wednesday is in Yellowknife and related to domestic travel outside of the territory, according to health officials.

In a news release Wednesday morning, the office of the chief public health officer said the new cases related to the Gahcho Kué outbreak were all confirmed in individuals in quarantine at the mine site, or at an isolation centre in Yellowknife.

Three of those five people are from the N.W.T. and the others are workers from outside the territory.

The release says all five are isolating and doing well.

Territorial health officials and medical staff at Gahcho Kué have been testing and monitoring the entire mine site, which is about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

"Because of unknown transmission chains, the [chief public health officer] determined that every worker at the mine site is a contact to COVID-19," the release says.

As of Tuesday, 75 mine workers from the N.W.T. and 31 from outside the N.W.T. were isolating in Yellowknife. Another 95 workers from outside N.W.T. have gone to their home provinces, officials say.

Mine operations have been suspended since Feb. 6 and no date has been set for them to resume. A team of essential workers will remain on site, the release says.

Anybody leaving the mine site is required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Officials say there is no identified risk to N.W.T. communities from the outbreak at Gahcho Kué.

Traveller flew from Edmonton

The sixth new case identified on Wednesday is not related to the Gahcho Kué outbreak. Officials say it is related to out-of-territory travel.

The affected person flew to Yellowknife on Canadian North flight 238 from Edmonton last Friday, Feb. 12. Wednesday's news release says health officials are working to contact other passengers who were seated in rows three to nine on that flights.

Passengers seated elsewhere on that flight are not considered to be at risk of exposure.


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