Seven new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported at worksite
The Nunavut government on Monday deployed its COVID Rapid Response Team in response to seven new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 at the TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay Mine, 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay.
The government noted that, at that time, there was no established link between the new cases and the previous two confirmed positives at the mine. If swabs come back confirmed from the southern lab, they would have counted as Nunavut’s first COVID-19 cases.
“These latest cases lead us to believe there is transmission of COVID-19 at the Hope Bay Mine. For the safety of all employees at the site, we have deployed our Rapid Response Team,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, chief public health officer. “The team, including two nurses and a logistician, is trained to trace, track and contain the virus to help reduce the risk of further transmission.”
However, on Sept. 30, the government reported its first case of COVID-19 In Pond Inlet.
The government said that TMAC Resources contacted the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer on Sept. 26 about an employee developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The Department of Health worked with on-site medical staff to swab the symptomatic employee and contacts. The presumptive positive cases and all known contacts were isolated, and contact tracing is on-going.
In response, the government banned all non-essential travel to and from the mine, including scheduled shift changes, until further notice.
“Although this is a serious situation, the risk to Nunavummiut is very low,” said George Hickes, minister of health. “There are no Nunavut residents currently working at the Hope Bay Mine, and the site is isolated from all Nunavut communities. As we see cases on the rise in Southern Canada, I encourage all Nunavummiut to be careful, follow our public health advice and remain prepared for COVID-19.”
In March, all Government of Nunavut (GN) office buildings were closed to the public amid the start of the pandemic.