COVID-19 outbreak declared at Ekati mine, 1 new case at Diavik mine

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An aerial view of the Ekati mine, about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. There are now three active cases of COVID-19 on site.  (Dominion Diamond Corporation - image credit)
An aerial view of the Ekati mine, about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. There are now three active cases of COVID-19 on site. (Dominion Diamond Corporation - image credit)

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories after a third case was confirmed on Sunday.

The infected person was on site and isolating as an identified contact of a previous positive diagnosis announced on May 28, according to a news release issued Monday by Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer.

None of the individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 are N.W.T. residents, the release said, and there is no risk to N.W.T. communities at this time. The Ekati mine lies about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and is accessible only by winter road or air.

All three cases are isolating and "doing well," Kandola said in the release. Others who have been identified as contacts continue to self-isolate at a "secure location onsite."

Kandola said that all screening measures to prevent the spread of infections were in place and that the office of the chief public health officer is working with the company on precautions.

"Today, the OCPHO has advised a delay to crew changes to be reassessed in 48 hours in order to minimize risk of workers leaving the site with COVID infection," the release said.

One new case has also been confirmed at the Diavik Diamond Mine. This infected person is also an out-of-territory worker who tested positive upon entry. All contacts are isolating onsite.