Public health closes investigation into 2nd COVID-19 case at Diavik mine
21 people isolating now released, plans being made to get worker who tested positive home to Ontario
The N.W.T.'s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer says it has closed its investigation into a positive COVID-19 case at Diavik Diamond Mine, and deemed the risk of an outbreak as "resolved."
An Ontario worker at the mine tested positive on Sept. 10 for the coronavirus. At the time, health officials said the worker was doing fine and in isolation, along with 21 other workers who came in "close contact" with them.
In a news release Tuesday, the health office said the 21 contacts have been released, and there is "no heightened risk to N.W.T. communities" or the work site.
"Diavik is working with public health on a transport plan to get the individual who tested positive home safely," the statement said.
"Diavik's medical team tested all contacts of the individual on days six and 10. All tests were negative with onsite testing and affirmed by Alberta Precision Labs."
The statement said no medical care was required in this case, and the worker did not interact with N.W.T. communities.
This is the second positive COVID-19 case at the mine, about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. An Alberta worker also tested positive in July. The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer also closed the investigation into that case determining there was no risk to communities.
In the most recent case, health officials said the worker tested positive upon entry. They were taken to the mine by a charter flight directly from the South.
Tuesday's news release said communities, mine workers and their families should feel confident that there is no heightened risk at the mine, "because of rigorous controls, effective testing, and co-operation between Diavik and Public Health."
The cases count toward the home provinces of the infected workers, not the N.W.T., according to Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines. The territory's five cases recovered months ago.
During the height of the pandemic, the territory's chief public health officer allowed the mines to continue operating because of the big role they play in the N.W.T.'s economy.
Two of Nunavut's mines have also had positive COVID-19 cases in recent days. There was a confirmed case at the territory's Mary River Mine on Monday. Over the weekend, two cases were also identified at Hope Bay mine.