Confirmed COVID-19 case at Gahcho Kué, no risk to communities

Illustration of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2, the cause of COVID-19. (Supplied by Alissa Eckert.)
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One confirmed positive COVID-19 case has been reported at Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine.

The worker was from outside of the territory, and travelled directly to the mine site from outside of the territory. Therefore the case does not count towards the territory’s total.

Twenty five contacts were identified, who are all isolating appropriately at the mine. As such, there is no community exposure risk to the rest of the Northwest Territories.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said that fact was evidence of why it is important for people to get tested as soon as they feel like they have symptoms of COVID-19.

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“Rapid response and isolation like those demonstrated at NWT diamond mines are possible because cases are caught early due to testing,” she said in a statement.

Kandola added it is “easier than ever” to get tested, with most COVID-19 tests returning within two days.

Despite several COVID-19 cases being reported at Gahcho Kué and other mines in the territory, Kandola said there has been “no instances of further transmission on-site at the diamond mines because of measures like these.”

She added this is evidence of the importance of implementing “protective workplace measures,” calling on businesses to look at their own guidelines.

“As risk continues to grow, now is the time for facilities across the NWT to consider putting additional protective measures in-place at their sites — like masking, more distancing, and smaller crowds — to help stop COVID-19 from spreading when it is present.”

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