Thunder Bay

Lac des Iles mine outbreak now has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Impala Canada confirms 11 of its employees have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Company says none of its staff have left designated quarantine hotel in Thunder Bay

11 employees have now tested positive for COVID-19 who work at the Lac des Iles mine. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Impala Canada confirms 11 of its employees have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The company, which owns and operates the Lac des Iles mine (LDI), about 90 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont., has been dealing with an outbreak of the virus at its semi-remote operation.

Four new cases related to the operation were announced on Thursday; three by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU), and one in the northeast in the Timiskaming District.

The company said two of the 11 positive cases were still on site at the mine and were under the care of medical professionals.

More testing was underway for employees who were showing symptoms of COVID-19, and contact tracing was being carried out by public health.

Quarantine in Thunder Bay

The mine said it had transferred most of its employees off site as of Monday, with employees who were unable to quarantine at home, or would have to travel across the country, to stay in a hotel in Thunder Bay.

Management and staff of the LDI operation, who were not subject to quarantine, along with security personnel and public health inspectors from the TBDHU, are at the hotel 24/7, the company said, to ensure all protocols from public health are followed.

The company said it is ensuring all of the individuals at the hotel are following the proper pandemic protocol, with a strict no-nonsense policy in place for the safety of workers, and other hotel guests. Employees who violated the policy and protocol would be "dealt with accordingly," a statement read.

Quarantined employees are not permitted to leave the site, Impala Canada said, and no mine employees have left the site. 

However, two contract staff had been moved from the hotel after being, "verbally inappropriate to hotel staff." Those staff are in self-isolaton at another location, the company said.


Jeff Walters

Former CBC reporter

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff worked in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario.