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Coronavirus

No outbreak yet at Ekati as second Covid-19 case is confirmed


A second active case of Covid-19 at the NWT’s Ekati diamond mine was confirmed by the territory’s chief public health officer on Saturday.

The second case, originally reported as a presumptive positive on Friday, involves an out-of-territory worker. It follows an earlier case recorded at the mine late last week.

Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, said she believed the latest individual to test positive for Covid-19 had acquired the infection before travelling to the mine.

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No mention of an outbreak was made in a Saturday news release from Dr Kandola’s office. While outbreaks have been declared at NWT mines or remote camps with as few as two cases in the past, those outbreaks were declared on the basis that Kandola believed transmission had occurred at the mine or camp itself.

In this case, Saturday’s news release suggested, the cases are considered to be separate.

“The assessment by OCPHO is that the Covid-19 infection was not acquired from the mine site,” read the news release, using an acronym for the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

“All screening measures to try and prevent introduction of Covid-19 infections were in place,” the statement continued.

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Earlier this week, Ekati operator Arctic Canadian told employees by email that the latest individual to test positive had done so in a “day six” test.

Workers arriving at Ekati are tested on arrival and then again on their sixth day at the site. The individual had tested negative on arrival, Arctic Canadian said.

On Friday, Arctic Canadian said 21 people were isolating at the mine.

“There is no identified risk to NWT communities related to this infection at this time. Monitoring and investigation will continue,” Kandola’s office said.

Meanwhile, two cases in Yellowknife remain active. They are the last active cases from this month’s cluster centred on the city’s NJ Macpherson School.

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