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Around Kivalliq: Covid case detected at Meliadine gold mine confirmed in early January

Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) said an employee working at its Meliadine mine near Rankin Inlet on Dec. 26 tested positive for Covid-19.

One person who tested positive for Covid-19, without symptoms, at the Melidaine gold mine on Dec. 26 led to 13 other mine workers also being evacuated from the site.
photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle

A press release from AEM's Melissa Bradley said the result was confirmed by an accredited laboratory on Jan. 4.

Bradley wrote the individual was tested prior to arriving to site on Dec. 23 and the result was negative.

She stated as part of AEM's enhanced Covid-19 protocol during the holiday period, all employees are retested after three days on site. The individual tested positive on Dec. 26 and was considered presumptive.

The individual did not present any symptoms, however, the testing facility has the ability to detect the presence of the virus even if the person does not show any symptoms,” Bradley stated.

In accordance with the company's isolation protocols, the individual was isolated on site until being extracted on a special charter flight on Dec. 30. The extraction was delayed due to weather conditions (blizzard).

A contact-tracing exercise was conducted and identified 13 employees who may have been in contact with the individual. The company's extraction protocol was activated and protective measures were put in place to prevent potential contamination.

The 13 people identified as potential contacts remained in isolation at the mine site until being extracted from site on Dec. 30 on a special charter flight. They have been instructed to follow the recommendations of their provincial health authorities and will be retested prior to returning to site.”

Covid death toll

Premier Joe Savikataaq announced on Jan. 5 that five Nunavummiut had passed away due to Covid-19.

He stated in a Government of Nunavut (GN) press release that four of the individuals contracted the virus in southern Canada, and it’s likely their deaths will be reported in those jurisdictions.

On behalf of the GN, I send our deepest sympathies and strength to their families, friends and communities,” stated Savikataaq.

This virus is heartbreaking and determined — it doesn’t care who you are or what you do. This is why we ask everyone to follow the public health measures all the time.

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Keep physical distance. Stay home if you feel at all unwell. Keep yourselves and everyone around you safe. I ask for your patience as we work toward vaccinating as many people as possible.

There are a lot of logistics involved, and we need to wait on enough of the vaccine to get to all our adult community members.”

Adoption commissioner on duty

Cecelia MacCallum has been reminding Kivalliq residents on social media that she is still an adoption commissioner for Rankin Inlet and the Kivalliq region.

She is also able to do adoptions for other regions when she is asked to do so.

MacCallum told Kivalliq residents that she has sent requests for live birth registrations for those who have asked her to do their custom adoptions from vital statistics.

As soon as she receives either the live birth registrations or birth certificates, she will notify those who have asked her to do their adoptions.

Anyone who started the adoption process with MacCallum can email her at anytime to find out the status of their application.