A second worker already in self-isolation has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Diavik Diamond Mine prompting the territory’s Chief Public Health Officer to declare an outbreak at the mine.
This brings the number of individuals with confirmed COVID-19 infections to two.
Chief Public Health Officer Kami Kandola says the current assessment is the second person acquired COVID-19 onsite.
“Both workers with COVID-19 are safely self-isolating at a secure location onsite with medical staff monitoring their condition,” she adds.
The second positive case was identified by Diavik medical staff and confirmed by a PCR test at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
The individual is among the contacts of the source case that was identified at the mine earlier this week. The two positive cases and all contacts have been self-isolating at the mine.
Kandola says medical staff are continuing to monitor and assess all worksite employees per standard COVID safety protocols.
“We are working closely with Diavik mine to ensure the two individuals with COVID-19 and contacts continue to safely isolate,” she adds.
Kandola says the company will test all employees at the mine site and continue to work with Public Health officials to mitigate transmission risk.
“Routine monitoring and follow-up will continue with all known cases and contacts,” she adds.
Kandola says lab analysis confirmed that the first COVID-19 infection announced on March 29 is the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.
“There is strong evidence that the Moderna vaccine is very protective against the B.1.1.7 variant,” she adds.
The second case like the first is not being reported in the territory’s COVID-19 statistics as the individual is not an NWT resident.
Kandola assures there is no identified risk to NWT communities related to the outbreak at this time.