Second worker tests positive. No risk to public health identified.
YELLOWKNIFE February 3, 2021 – A second out-of-territory worker who was already in self-isolation has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué Mine, located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife.
This brings the number of individuals confirmed positive for the virus to two and has prompted the territory’s Chief Public Health Officer to declare an outbreak at the mine.
Both active cases are safely self-isolating at a secure location onsite and are doing well.
These cases are unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak declared January 29 at the Gahcho Kué contractor-operated winter road worksite located 40 km from the mine.
Context for Outbreak Declaration
The NWT defines an outbreak in a closed facility -- which includes remote camps -- as one or more confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 where infection is acquired within the facility.
Public Health has determined there is a high probability that viral transmission to the second case occurred at the worksite.
The second positive case was identified by Gahcho Kué medical staff using onsite rapid testing technology and was confirmed by a PCR test at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
The individual is among the 11 contacts of the source case that was identified at the mine earlier this week. The two positive cases and all contacts have been in a dedicated isolation area at the mine since Jan. 30, away from the general mine site population.
Neither of the positive cases were infectious during travel to the mine.
Medical staff are continuing to monitor and assess all worksite employees per standard COVID safety protocols.
Public Health officials are working with the company to ensure the two individuals with COVID-19 and contacts continue to safely isolate onsite.
The company will test all employees at the mine site, and continue to work with Public Health officials to mitigate transmission risk.
Routine monitoring and follow-up will continue with all known cases and contacts.
These cases are not associated with last week’s COVID outbreak at the company’s contractor-operated winter road worksite, where three positive infections have been identified. The Gahcho Kué diamond mine is located 40 km from the company’s winter road camp. Crews do not travel between the two sites.
There is no identified risk to NWT communities related to the two cases of COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué mine.
Monitoring and investigation will continue per Public Health communicable disease protocols to mitigate any transmission risk.
All commentary is to be attributed to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.