Northwest Territories health officials say testing has confirmed two more recently announced positive Covid-19 cases involve a variant of concern.
Testing at an Alberta lab has confirmed both cases are the B117 variant, also known as the “UK variant” as it was first identified in the United Kingdom. The same variant was confirmed in another case of a non-resident worker at the Diavik mine on April 1, bringing the total number of variant cases identified to date to three.
In a news release, the territorial government said the individuals involved in the April 3 and April 5 cases are isolating and doing well.
NWT health officials said there was no identified risk to the public from either case.
An outbreak of Covid-19 has already been declared at Diavik. The territory said many workers at the site were assessed as being at very low risk of exposure and had left the mine to return home.
“The company will test all employees at the mine site and continue to work with Public Health officials to mitigate transmission risk,” said the territorial government. “The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is also working with Diavik to safely return NWT and out-of-territory workers home.”
NWT health officials say the individual in Yellowknife contracted Covid-19 outside the territory and the virus was not at a transmissible stage during their flight. Three people who had contact with that individual are isolating and doing well.
“The introduction of a variant of concern to the NWT is a new development in the pandemic, and we must be vigilant in our response to this,” the news release states.