N.W.T. reports 3 new COVID-19 cases related to Gahcho Kué outbreak

The Northwest Territories' chief public health officer confirmed three new COVID-19 cases at the diamond mine today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases related to the Gahcho Kué outbreak to 18.

All three are out-of-territory workers and were identified as contacts of earlier cases

Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported at the Gahcho Kué mine on Friday. Northwest Territories public health officials say the three people are isolating and doing well. (De Beers )

Public health officials confirmed three new diagnoses of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine.

All three are out-of-territory workers and were already identified as contacts of the earlier cases. They have been in quarantine for a week or longer and all are feeling well, a news release states. 

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses related to the Gahcho Kué outbreak to 18. Of these cases, 10 are out-of-territory workers and eight are N.W.T. residents. 

Medical staff at the mine confirmed the new diagnoses and they continue to test and monitor the entire site for COVID-19, the release states. 

All employees have been re-tested and essential service workers at the mine all tested negative, said Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer for the N.W.T. 

Because the chain of transmission is unknown, all workers at the mine site are considered potential contacts.

No individuals were infectious during their initial travel to the mine. 

Gahcho Kué suspended its operations Feb. 6 and there is no date set to resume operations. The mine is working with public health officials and relocated resident workers away from the mine site for self-isolation, the release states.

About 95 out-of-territory workers have been sent back to their home provinces. As of yesterday, 75 N.W.T. workers were isolating in Yellowknife, along with 30 out-of-territory workers.

Every person leaving the mine must self-isolate and monitor their health for 14 days. 

An essential crew remains on site, and an industrial hygiene crew will travel to the mine to sanitize it before the mine resumes operations, the release states.

Kandola says there is no identified risk to N.W.T. communities from the Gahcho Kué outbreak.