No heightened risk to NWT communities or worksite; 21 isolated contacts released
YELLOWKNIFE 22 September 2020 – Following an investigation of the most recent confirmed COVID-19 infection of a worker at Diavik Diamond Mine, the risk of an outbreak is deemed resolved.
Diavik’s medical team tested all contacts of the individual on days six and 10. All tests were negative with onsite testing and affirmed by Alberta Precision Labs.
Contacts have been released from isolation as of 7pm on September 21. Diavik is working with public health on a transport plan to get the individual who tested positive home safely.
No medical care was required in this case and the individual did not interact with other NWT communities.
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.
A Reminder On Case Reporting
Under Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reporting standards, as the person lives in Ontario they will be tallied in Ontario’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.
Engaging with companies
Our public health team continues to engage with remote camp operators to share best practices from these recent cases to help others cope with cases when they arrive.
The precautions used at the mine site to reduce the chance of contacts becoming ill can be applied to your day-to-day lives.
Physical distancing works to keep everyone safer from COVID-19.
Wearing non-medical masks is a good extra layer of protection. It makes respiratory droplets spread much less distance. It’s a way you can protect others – and encouraging those around you to do it will also help protect you.
Practicing good hygiene by washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and keeping your coughs and sneezes to yourself will keep everyone safer.
And if you’re required to self-isolate away from others, stick to it. It’s the best way to stop an outbreak from getting out-of-hand.
All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories.