The Northwest Territories’ Ekati diamond mine has reported its first case of Covid-19, in a worker who had travelled to the mine from southern Canada.
The NWT government issued an advisory confirming the case on Saturday. Dominion Diamond Mines, which owns and operates Ekati, has not commented.
Ekati was the only one of the territory’s three diamond mines yet to record a Covid-19 case, primarily because it has spent months out of action after Dominion decided to halt operations when the pandemic first reached the North.
The other two mines, Diavik and Gahcho Kué, have remained in operation throughout the year.
Ekati is in the process of being sold to a group of Dominion’s creditors after the company’s financial troubles saw it enter creditor protection earlier this year.
Prospects for the mine have looked brighter in recent weeks. Ekati may reopen by the end of January and some 60 workers were recalled to the mine in November, more than half a year after hundreds were furloughed.
The territorial government said the Covid-19 case came in a non-resident worker who was isolated appropriately and doing well. They had travelled directly to Ekati from Alberta, leading the GNWT to conclude there is no risk to NWT communities.
Twenty-nine people considered contacts of the latest patient are also isolating.
Because the case didn’t originate in an NWT resident, it isn’t being counted toward the territory’s existing total of 24 confirmed Covid-19 cases to date.