UPDATE: False positive COVID-19 case at Gahcho Kué mine

The Gahcho Kué diamond mine located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. Photo supplied by DeBeers Canada.
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Update 8:35 p.m.: The presumptive COVID-19 test at Gahcho Kué was a false positive, according to the Chief Public Health Officer.

Dr. Kami Kandola said the results were confirmed with the GNWT’s own rapid testing machines, and it was found the positive test that had been reported at Gahcho Kué was false.

The presumptive positive had only been reported earlier today. The result was returned far quicker than confirmation of the two presumptive COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife – which were confirmed positive. It took those results four days to be returned.

The false-positive result was confirmed by Kandola during a press conference Wednesday evening.

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That happened because the territory’s rapid testing machines were in the process of being validated on Monday. The validation was completed on Monday.

Update 4:30 p.m.:  The worker who tested positive at Gahcho Kué mine is a resident of Yellowknife and contact tracing has started.

Immediate household members of the individual and identified contacts were quickly informed and directed to isolate, and given appropriate public health advice, according to Julie Green, the Minister for Health.

Public Health has arranged for immediate testing of these contacts.  

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Testing conducted upon the arrival of a new team of miners found one presumptive case of COVID-19 at Gahcho Kué mine.

The new group of miners arrived at the mine — 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife — on Monday, where they were tested for COVID-19.

One of the miners, who arrived on a flight from Yellowknife, tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating in the “dedicated quarantine wing” of the mine, according to a statement from De Beers, the company who owns and operates the mine.

The statement adds that 18 other miners who had travelled from Yellowknife with the individual are also self-isolating, “out of an abundance of caution.” Those 18 miners tested negative upon arrival.

De Beers is working with the GNWT and the chief public health officer, and is conducting follow-up testing on any workers at the mine who may have been impacted.

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