Coronavirus
Yellowknife

No community spread in Gahcho Kué case, NWT says


There is “no indication of ongoing transmission” and no cause for alarm over a positive Covid-19 test at the Gahcho Kué mine, the NWT’s chief public health officer said on Monday.

The office of Dr Kami Kandola said the “likely source” of that infection had been identified as a close contact of the mine worker. The close contact had recently travelled outside the territory.

That close contact – said by the territory to be “the only high-risk contact” involved – has tested negative for Covid-19. The territory said this was expected as they were being tested “late in the potential incubation period.”

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No more information about the close contact was given. The person who tested positive last Friday was a Yellowknife resident.

The territory said there was no indication Covid-19 had spread any further in relation to that close contact. No exposure warnings have been issued.

All other tests related to that contact came back negative, Kandola’s office said, and there were no positive Covid-19 tests in the territory over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the reason for last week’s false positive at the mine became clear: the territory said the wrong sample was sent for reassessment at Stanton Territorial Hospital’s lab, which is why the initial positive at the mine turned into a negative in Yellowknife.

“After an investigation, it has been determined that a clerical error caused the incorrect sample to be sent for reassessment,” Kandola’s office wrote in an update published on Monday.

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“This is why there was initially a false positive reported, and why the confirmed case was not identified in the first round of testing.”

A review of testing at Gahcho Kué is under way. That testing relies on a lab being operated by an organization named GuardRX at the nearby Diavik mine.

“Any questions should be directed to GuardRX,” the territorial government said. GuardRX has been approached for comment.

The territory told residents: “There is currently no indication of ongoing transmission. Public health will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates if the situation changes.

“There is no need for alarm. But as cases rise down south, it is crucial for everyone to double-down on the fundamental public health practices we know work to keep us safe.”

Three of the recent four Covid-19 patients in the territory have now recovered, the NWT government added.

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