The GNWT says the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant is in the Northwest Territories.

But since the infected party is a non-resident Diavik Diamond Mine employee, the case isn’t being counted in the NWT’s total.

This is the first time the “variant of concern,” first detected in the United Kingdom and one of several now circulating around the world, has been confirmed in the NWT. A pair of variant cases were confirmed in the Yukon at the end of March.

“The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is working closely with Diavik mine to ensure the individual with COVID-19 and contacts continue to safely isolate on-site,” chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said via a press release issued Thursday evening. “The company will test all employees at the mine site and continue to work with Public Health officials to mitigate transmission risk.”

She said there is no identified risk to NWT communities related to this infection at this time. Monitoring and investigation will continue per public health communicable disease protocols to mitigate any transmission risk.

Kandola said she “anticipated” the arrival of variants here. But while new variants seem to spread more easily than the original virus, “the same types of preventive strategies will be effective. There is strong evidence that the Moderna vaccine is very protective against the B.1.1.7 variant.”

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. He should be at least six feet away from you at all times.

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