No indication of risk to NWT communities; all those isolated released; aggressive onsite testing negatives
YELLOWKNIFE 11 August 2020 – Following an investigation of the recent positive COVID test, concern regarding the risk of an outbreak as a result of the confirmed COVID-19 case at Diavik Diamond Mine has been resolved. Contacts have now been released from isolation.
Enhanced Outbreak Testing
Diavik’s medical team has tested all contacts of the individual on days five, eight, and eleven. All tests were negative with onsite testing and affirmed by Alberta Precision Labs (ProvLab).
Contacts have been released from isolation and the individual who tested positive has returned home to Alberta following all public health protocols.
Shift Change and You
Northern residents with friends, family, and community-members at site likely have some questions about shift change coming up.
Because of rigorous controls, effective testing, and cooperation between Diavik and Public Health, we are confident in advising that there is no indication of any ongoing heightened risk as a result of this positive case.
If you know people returning to the community after rotation, you should feel confident that there is no reason to believe your community is at any additional risk because of it.
If you are returning to work for rotation, you should feel confident that you’re doing so just as safely as you did last time.
And if you were onsite during the incident, know that the controls worked to reduce risk and protect you while you were.
The bottom line: there is no reason to be fearful, but there’s every reason to stay vigilant. Because while there’s never no risk, this case demonstrates that taking precautions can help you take more control over your risk of contracting COVID-19.
A Reminder on Case Reporting
Under Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reporting standards, as the person lives in Alberta they will be tallied in Alberta’s totals rather than the Northwest Territories’. This is because PHAC requires cases to be reported by the residency of the individual.
As a result, the NWT’s confirmed cases will remain at five in reporting on our website.
All prior cases in the NWT were residents of the territory.
Our public health team will be in contact with other mines in the NWT to go over the incident in the near future to share lessons learned from this real-world example of outbreak control under our territory’s public health measures and approach.
This will aid all parties in responding to any future incidents.
All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories.