COVID-19 strikes Nunavut's Meadowbank gold mine

An employee at the Meadowbank Complex near Baker Lake, Nunavut, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Eight identified contacts have since tested negative, as have all other employees on site, according to Agnico Eagle.

All employees on site have since tested negative for the virus, and will be tested again Saturday

Agnico Eagle's Meadowbank Gold Mine in Nunavut's Kivalliq region in August of 2019. (Agnico Eagle)

An employee at Agnico Eagle's Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake, Nunavut, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. 

The test was confirmed Wednesday, and the person was immediately isolated and flown out of the mine on Thursday. 

In a news release Friday, Agnico Eagle said eight employees identified as contacts have since tested negative, as have all mine staff, who were retested. Those eight have been flown out of the mine site, along with the positive case, and "instructed to follow the recommendations of their provincial health authorities." 

Contact tracing "revealed possible exposure to one Nunavut worker who left the mine on August 21," said Nunavut's acting chief public health officer, Dr Rosann Seviour, in a statement. 

However, the contact is considered low risk, and that person is being followed by public health, Seviour said. 

Employees still at the mine site will be tested again on Saturday, and all common areas on site have also been closed for cleaning and disinfection. 

The mine said it is working closely with Nunavut's office of the chief public health officer and that the no-contact protocol between mine sites and the communities remains a priority. 

Seviour reminded people in Nunavut who develop COVID-19 symptoms to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8604 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or call their health centre immediately to arrange for testing. 

Vaccines are still available to all Nunavummiut over 12, and can be obtained through local health centres. 

Neither Seviour nor Agnico Eagle mentioned whether the positive case was related to a variant of concern. 

Nunavut has not had a case of COVID-19 in a resident since mid-June.