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Coronavirus

Almost 100 isolate at Ekati as third presumptive Covid-19 case found


Nearly 100 people are now isolating at the NWT’s Ekati diamond mine after two confirmed cases of Covid-19 were joined by a third presumptive positive on Saturday.

In an email to employees on Sunday, mine operator Arctic Canadian said the NWT government would soon declare an outbreak at Ekati and had instructed the mine to “complete a longer period of close-contact tracing investigation.”

Arctic Canadian said: “We have a total of 96 individuals in isolation and all are asymptomatic and feeling well.”

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The NWT’s chief public health officer, Dr Kami Kandola, “will be declaring an outbreak because of the two cases on site,” the email to staff continued. As of 11am on Sunday, Dr Kandola’s office had yet to make public an outbreak declaration for the mine.

Arctic Canadian said it would be meeting with Kandola later on Sunday “to review the investigation and plan the path forward.”

News of this month’s first two confirmed cases at Ekati came last week and on Friday this week. Those two confirmed cases each appear to have been acquired prior to arrival at the mine, Kandola’s office said on Saturday.

The origin of the third presumptive positive is not yet clear. A presumptive case means an initial positive result has been returned but further lab analysis is required to be certain.

Site-wide Covid-19 testing was taking place at Ekati on Sunday. The impact of the latest cases on mine operations and output was not immediately clear.

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