Nunavut’s chief public health officer on Saturday confirmed two cases of Covid-19 at the Hope Bay gold mine, 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay.
There is no evidence of further spread at the mine site at this time, according to Dr. Michael Patterson.
Both infected miners were exposed in their home jurisdictions, Patterson stated. The mine’s existing workforce flies in from the south on private planes without having to spend two weeks at designated isolation centres.
The workers were swabbed and isolated at the mine site, which is operated by TMAC Resources.
“Although the exposure happened prior to travel, this was not identified until after they had arrived at the mine site,” a Department of Health news release stated. “The (swab) samples tested positive on the GeneXpert device in Rankin Inlet late on Sept. 16 and were confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg today (Saturday).”
Health Minister George Hickes added, “Hope Bay mine is an isolated location, and no Nunavut residents currently work there. The risk of Covid-19 spreading in our communities because of these cases remains very low. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will keep Nunavummiut informed if anything changes.”
Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
The best protection from spreading or catching the disease is physical distancing, handwashing for at least 20 seconds, coughing and sneezing into an elbow and staying home as much as possible, according to the Department of Health.