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Rankin Inlet gold mine reports two presumptive COVID-19 cases

Two employees at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut have received presumptive positive COVID-19 test results.

Both employees, and all their contacts, have been flown home to self-isolate

Agnico Eagle's Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The first presumptive positive result came in Saturday while the second case was found Tuesday. (Submitted by Agnico Eagle)

Agnico Eagle says two of its employees at the Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut have received presumptive positive COVID-19 test results.

The two cases do not appear to be connected. Both employees have been sent back to their home province on separate charter flights, along with 22 fellow employees who were identified as potential contacts, according to a Thursday release from Agnico Eagle.

The company said the 22 employees all tested negative and are at home, self-isolating for 14 days. They've been instructed to follow the recommendations of their provincial health authorities and will be tested again prior to returning to the mine.

Agnico Eagle said it worked closely with Nunavut public health on the cases. The company said the risk to Rankin Inlet, which is about 25 kilometres from the mine, is very low.

The first presumptive positive result came in Saturday after a random testing exercise at the mine, according to the company.

The second presumptive case was uncovered Tuesday after an employee travelling to the mine from Mirabel, Que. tested positive. 

Agnico Eagle says both cases are considered presumptive until the results are validated by health authorities in their provincial jurisdictions.

The company says that as an extra precautionary measure, all employees that were at the mine site will be tested again over the next several days.

It adds that all common areas have received additional extensive cleaning and disinfection.

Late last September, another employee at the mine received a presumptive positive test. A company spokesperson said the individual was flown home and recuperated from the infectious disease. The employee then tested negative and was cleared to return to work by Nunavut public health.

Corrections

  • This story was updated from a previous version that mistakenly said the employee ultimately tested negative. In fact, the employee was flown home and recuperated from the infectious disease after receiving a confirmed positive test, and then later tested negative.  
    Oct 23, 2020 8:13 AM CT

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