COVID-19 testing ramped up at Diavik

An aerial shot of the Diavik mine, whose part-owners Dominion have been struggling financially during the pandemic. (Supplied by DDMI.)
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COVID-19 testing efforts are being ramped up at Diavik Diamond Mine, as other NWT mines recover from outbreaks of the virus.

Non-resident workers who are travelling to the mine will now be tested where they are picked up — the airport they fly to the NWT from — and around the midway point during their rotation.

Point-of-pickup testing was piloted in Edmonton on February 11 for southern workers boarding flights to the mine, according to a statement from Rio Tinto who own a portion of the Diavik mine.

Similar measures were implemented at airports in Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Winnipeg and Vancouver on February 22. 

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“Results are received within 15 minutes, allowing medical professionals to identify and isolate presumptive positive cases, including asymptomatic individuals, before they travel to the mine,” a statement from Rio Tinto spokesperson Simon Letendre said.

Workers are also tested when they arrive at the mine site and before they leave.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to protect our people and communities, and this testing will add a further layer to the robust precautionary measures we already have in place at Diavik,” Diavik Diamond Mine president Richard Storrie said in a statement.

“We will continue to support the public health response that has been put in place by the Northwest Territories government, including vaccination efforts.”

Gahcho Kué was shutdown on February 6 after an outbreak was declared at the mine.

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That came after an outbreak had been declared at a worksite near the Gahcho Kue mine, which has since ended.

There have been 19 total cases of the virus related to the outbreak at the mine site. Eight of the cases are still active, while the other 11 cases have recovered.

Three workers who contracted COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine have been hospitalized

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