Nunavut mine worker’s COVID-19 test result comes back negative

All workers at Baffinland’s Mary River mine now out of isolation

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, says the territorial government has performed surveillance testing in every community that has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

A test result to confirm a presumptive case of COVID-19 from a worker at Baffinland’s Mary River mine has come back negative.

In a news release issued on Friday morning, Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said that the positive result from the mine’s testing equipment means that the case remains a presumptive positive.

“We may never know for sure whether the individual had a barely detectable case of COVID-19,” said Patterson in the release.

Neither the worker who tested positive, nor any of the seven people they were thought to have been in contact with that worker, has showed any symptoms of COVID-19.

All of these people are out of isolation and back to work, the release said.

Baffinland flies in new workers every two weeks who stay for month-long rotations, then fly out for month-long breaks.

Every new wave of workers flown in is immediately tested with the mine’s test equipment. The worker who is presumed to have had a case of COVID-19 initially tested negative.

Five days later, their test results came back positive. When they were tested again, those results were also positive. In both cases, the traces of COVID-19 were very low.

Since test equipment at the mine isn’t accredited by any public health agency, the results were sent to labs in Ontario, where equipment is accredited.

It is the results of those tests that were negative.

Patterson continues to urge Nunavummiut to follow public health advice, and to “remain vigilant.”

On Thursday, the Government of Nunavut extended its public health emergency until July 23, something it has to do every 14 days.

“We must remain diligent and aware that the threat of COVID-19 has not yet passed,” said Nunavut’s minister of health, George Hickes, in a news release.

The extension means that Nunavut’s chief public health officer continues to have extended powers in order to deal with the pandemic as needed.

All of the existing precautions under the public health emergency are still in effect.

“Please continue to maintain physical distancing and handwashing practices, limit any non-essential travel out of the territory, and stay home if you are feeling unwell,” said Hickes in a news release.

“We must all continue doing our part to keep each other safe.”

Other than a false-positive case of COVID-19, and this presumptive positive case, Nunavut remains free of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by full-some- blues on

    Another false positive just as in the previous result. How many of 106,000+ positives listed in Canada (through out the world) to date are false. That would be an interesting number to post wouldn’t it? But no, they prefer inflect you with fear and to control you. Its time to move on. This flu has had its lime-light. Be done with it, and lets get back to normal life.

    • Posted by Getting back to normal on

      When are folks like you going to come back to reality and stop letting alt right news infect YOU with fear?

      Have you considered the fact that most of us aren’t living in constant fear of COVID yet trust the government enough to follow the process? And following the rules, put in place by high ranking medical professionals, doesn’t mean I’m a sheep to this government. I just don’t want my parents to catch it and die because I insisted on being a jerk and conspiracy nut (which is becoming a huge problem in Canada).

      • Posted by Let 1,000 Sceptics Bloom on

        Hey, enough with the alt-right accusations! There’s nothing intrinsically right or left wing about suggesting the government is using fear to control people. Governments of all stripes have done it. And “trust the government” is not a good long-term strategy for a society.
        (and speaking of conspiracy nuts, you know what would reduce the conspiracy talk… if the government stopped indulging in conspiracies – can you say “WE charity”?)
        People have to recognize their own bias in this – how are you affected by the lockdown? Do the paychecks keep coming in regardless, or are you having to tighten your belt? Me, full disclosure, it would be nice to get out of the territory for a few weeks – I don’t think policy should be shaped by my needs. But there must be thousands of people who are seeing a real decline in their standard of living because they’ve been laid off or have lost business. This sort of thing is just going to get worse as the months go by.
        One thing people should think about is that there’s a territorial election in 2021 and that the GN cabinet is going to be really risk-averse in the run up – that’s their bias.

  2. Posted by Bound to arrive eventually on

    The flu is bound to arrive to Nunavut sooner or later. Its a matter of probability. It can’t be prevented forever. However, GN Health has been doing a tremondous job of reducing the risks of high rates of transmission.

    Once it does eventually arrive, people in Nunavut will need to step up and take measures to lessen the risks of transmission and find ways to protect the vulnerable – the elders and those with weakened immune systems. Most healthy children and adults will recover and likely develop antibodies for a time.

    This update highlights the need for better testing equipment, not just for Covid, but for other flus that cause serious implications and lung-related illnesses such as RSV, TB, etc and help inform Nunavummiut how to lessen high rates of transmission.

  3. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    A more important number is 8798 which is the number of Canadians killed by Covid-19..
    That number is far too high. We as a society failed our parents and grandparents. Our political leaders failed us, as did the CEOs and management of our senior care centres.
    And yet we were lucky, it could have been much worse, just look at the mess in the U.S. Our leaders were a little slow to react, and took a lot of half measures before getting it 90% right. We have a good chance of getting through this without a lot more needless death.
    We should praise Dr. Patterson and his team and heed their advice, this is far from over yet. I second the comments about laying off the conspiracy theories. This is a pandemic, let’s just try to get through this alive.

  4. Posted by Curious on

    Just think, if everyone in the world would spend the next week stock-piling a month of supplies, and if every household then did a stay-in-the-house for a month lock-down, COVID-19 would be history. If we had leaders who would make this happen, along with cancelling all rents and other bills for the month then deaths would be minimized and life could return almost to normal.
    Instead, governments around the world are printing trillions of dollars. That money passes through many hands, but where is all that money ending up?
    I don’t have a theory, just a question…

  5. Posted by Anxious Angeline on

    Man! This is draining, stay home, go out, positive test, negative test, re-open, social distancing…etc. Zero cases, 1 presumptive, still no cases, 1 positive, false negative…just going back and forth. Stay home, go out, restrictions, closed, open, the news changes every day and it’s mentally and emotionally draining, I got anxiety COVID19 blues!

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