2 COVID-19 cases in N.W.T. confirmed as variant of concern first identified in U.K.

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The Diavik Diamond Mine in remote, northeastern N.W.T. A case of COVID-19 in an out-of-territory worker at Diavik, reproted on April 3, was found to be a variant of concern. (Rio Tinto - image credit)
The Diavik Diamond Mine in remote, northeastern N.W.T. A case of COVID-19 in an out-of-territory worker at Diavik, reproted on April 3, was found to be a variant of concern. (Rio Tinto - image credit)

Two recently announced COVID-19 infections in the Northwest Territories have been confirmed to be a variant of concern by Alberta Precision Laboratories.

The cases include a confirmed infection announced on April 3 in an out-of-territory worker at Diavik Diamond Mine, and another case announced on April 5 in an N.W.T. resident, and related to international travel, according to a news release issued Thursday.

The territory says the N.W.T. resident became infected outside the N.W.T. was not communicable during air travel.

The lab analysis confirmed the virus in both cases is the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.

On April 1, the Northwest Territories confirmed its first case of a variant of concern — the B.1.1.7 variant — in an out-of-territory worker at Diavik Diamond Mine.

The territory says the infected people have identified contacts, and are self-isolating and doing well. At this time, there is no risk to the public.

In the release, it says the office of the chief public health officer is working with Diavik mine to ensure those with COVID-19 are isolating on site. The company will also test all employees at the mine, and is working to safely return N.W.T. and out-of-territory workers home.

Many of the workers are deemed to be at low risk of any exposure, says the release, and many will be returning home in the next few days "as long as the situation remains unchanged."

Medical staff are monitoring the situation.