Nunavut mine worker’s COVID-19 test result comes back negative
All workers at Baffinland’s Mary River mine now out of isolation
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.