An employee at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine mine near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, has tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.
This is the third mine in Nunavut to report presumptive positive cases this month.
The person was tested at the company's lab in Val-d'Or, Que., on Monday before boarding a flight to the mine from Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, according to a news release from Agnico Eagle on Tuesday.
When the flight landed at the mine, which is about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, all employees were put into "strict isolation" in their rooms while contact tracing was conducted.
The statement said 15 people had been in contact with the person possibly infected.
16 people going back south
"The individual who has presumptively tested positive is being transported to the South on a special flight," the statement said.
"In addition, the 15 people who had contact with this person are being transported on a separate charter flight to the South."
Agnico Eagle said all cleaning protocols were followed and all employees wore masks before boarding the flight, on the flight, and on the bus that transferred them from the flight to the mine site.
"The risk of contagion is deemed very low," the statement said, as is the risk to Nunavummiut in Rankin Inlet.
Nunavut residents who work at the mine have been off work, receiving 75 per cent of their base salary since March, the release said. It says the company is following the recommendations of Nunavut chief public health officer.
The presumptive case at the Meliadine mine comes after seven presumptive positive cases were reported at the TMAC Resources-owned mine near Cambridge Bay on Monday.
Nunavut has yet to have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, though the territorial government said the seven cases may be counted as the first should they be deemed positive, since transmission may have happened in Nunavut.
Two positive cases were also confirmed at the Hope Bay mine this month, and one positive case at Mary River mine southwest of Pond Inlet. They weren't counted toward Nunavut's cases because transmission happened outside of the territory. There have also been two positive cases at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the N.W.T.
Baffinland's Mary River mine has reported presumptive positive cases in the past, one was confirmed, but the others later turned out to be negative.
The remaining passengers on the flight were cleared to return to work.