Outbreak declared at Diavik Diamond Mine after second positive COVID-19 case

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Health officials in the N.W.T. have declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Diavik Diamond Mine after a second worker tested positive for the virus Saturday. (Rio Tinto - image credit)
Health officials in the N.W.T. have declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Diavik Diamond Mine after a second worker tested positive for the virus Saturday. (Rio Tinto - image credit)

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Diavik Diamond Mine — about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife — after a second worker tested positive for the virus within a week.

The office of the chief public health officer confirmed the second case Saturday, noting the individual had already been isolating in a secure, on-site location after being identified as a close contact of a case of the B.1.1.7 variant announced Thursday.

The office did not say if the second case was of the same variant.

"Both workers with COVID-19 are safely self-isolating at a secure location onsite with medical staff monitoring their condition," read the statement from Dr. Kami Kandola's office. "They are currently doing well."

Public health said there is a "high probability" the second case happened because of viral transmission, which is why the outbreak has been declared.

The N.W.T. defines an outbreak as one or more confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 where an infection is acquired within a closed facility.

"Medical staff are continuing to monitor and assess all worksite employees per standard COVID[-19] safety protocols," the statement said.

When the first case was announced Thursday, public health said 35 other workers had been ordered to self-isolate because they were close contacts.

"Routine monitoring and follow-up will continue with all known cases and contacts," the release read.

Public health said there is no identified risk to communities in the N.W.T. because of the outbreak. They also said the individual is not a resident of the N.W.T. and would not be reported in the territory's COVID-19 statistics.