Baffinland’s Nunavut mine reports presumptive positive case of COVID-19

Employee recently arrived at mine site and remains asymptomatic, company says

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s port is seen at Milne Inlet. The company says that an employee that recently arrived at its Mary River mine is presumed to have COVID-19, following a test at the mine’s on-site lab. (Photo courtesy of Baffinland)

By Nunatsiaq News

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. says that an employee at its Mary River mine is presumed to have COVID-19, following a positive test result at the mine’s on-site lab.

The employee recently arrived at the mine site and is asymptomatic, the company said in a news release issued on Thursday, Sept. 17. “The affected employee is in isolation and will remain in isolation while we continue to monitor their condition,” the news release states.

“Additionally, Baffinland has initiated contact tracing and has isolated those who were in close contact with the affected individual. All employees are doing well and remain asymptomatic.”

Baffinland has been using an on-site portable COVID-19 testing lab to test its employees at the mine. The company says the lab has so far performed more than 9,250 tests on employees and contractors. All employees are tested upon arrival at the mine and a follow-up test is conducted five days after arrival, to help detect infections that may have been incubating.

Baffinland says it’s working closely with Nunavut and federal public health officials to determine the next course of action, following the positive test result.

The company says it has maintained a strict no-contact policy with local communities and there continues to be no threat of transmission.

“We have a robust pandemic response plan in place that includes an infectious disease component. We adjust our approach by reassessing and adopting mitigation measures as new information becomes available and as the situation evolves,” the company said.

“Baffinland will continue to monitor this case and provide updates accordingly.”

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