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Agnico Eagle flies out 16 workers from Meadowbank after one tests positive for Covid

Although one Meadowbank Complex worker recently tested positive for Covid-19, the risk of transmission to Baker Lake, 110 km away by road, remains "very low," according to Agnico Eagle. photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle

Mining company Agnico Eagle announced on Monday that it recently transported 16 mine workers from the Meadowbank complex after one of them tested positive for Covid-19.

The infected individual initially tested negative for the coronavirus prior to departing for the worksite, 110 km north of Baker Lake by road. However, the employee began to develop mild Covid symptoms as of March 19. The person was placed in isolation and retested that day. Following a presumptive positive, the individual was sent south on a special charter flight on March 20. An accredited laboratory confirmed the positive test on March 27.

A tracing exercise determined that 15 other workers may have been in contact with the infected person. They were all retested but the results came back negative. However, they remained in isolation at Meadowbank until a separate charter flight extracted them on March 20.

Agnico Eagle reported that all employs who stayed at the Meadowbank camp between March 15-18 were also retested and the results were negative for everyone.

"Although the risk of contamination is considered low, all common areas (gym, smoke shacks and recreational room) have been shut down for extensive cleaning and disinfection," the company stated in a Monday evening news release. "As of today, all common areas have been reopened following the cleaning process. We are working closely with Nunavut’s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer and we are following their recommendations.

"The risk of transmission to the community of Baker Lake is very low. The Meadowbank Complex implemented precautionary measures in March to isolate itself from the community, including by having its Nunavummiut workers stay at home with 75 per cent of their base salary to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of Covid-19 into the communities. The isolation of the Meadowbank Complex remains a priority, including during the transportation of employees to site, in order to continue protecting the communities."

About the Author: Derek Neary

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