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Presumptive case at Diavik mine tests positive, but result will add to tally in Alberta, not NWT

The individual with the presumptive positive case of Covid-19 is self-isolating at a designated spot at the mine, said the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer. file photo

The Northwest Territories has its first Covid-19 case in months – or does it?

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer said in an email Friday afternoon that the employee at Diavik Diamond Mine’s presumptive Covid-19 diagnosis was confirmed by an Alberta lab.

But due to the wording of Public Health Agency of Canada reporting standards, because the Diavik employee is an Alberta resident who tested positive upon arriving in the NWT, the case will be counted in that province’s total, leaving the NWT’s number of active cases at zero and total cases at five.

The GNWT’s online counter shows 3,227 tests have been performed here with five positive results and five recoveries. All five were NWT residents. There are 77 tests pending.

The individual remains self-isolated in a designated isolation area at the mine about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and continues to show no symptoms.

Health and Social Services department spokesperson Mike Westwick wrote that 35 people onsite were isolated “out of an abundance of caution upon discovery of the presumptive case. Further investigation determined eight could be safely released.”

“The Chief Public Health Officer has carefully assessed the situation and determined that there is no additional risk to remaining workers and all possible exposures have been effectively isolated,” Westwick wrote.

Westwick said Diavik Diamond Mine has the capacity to test with medical expertise onsite and will be in regular contact with public health officials as they undertake an enhanced testing program.

“Diavik employees are being kept up-to-date and additional precautions are being taken onsite to avoid any possible contact with those who are isolated."