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Detour Lake mine worker tests positive for COVID-19

Symptom-showing employee tested positive 10 days after being removed from mine site

A worker at Detour Lake gold mine, northeast of Cochrane, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

In a March 29 news release, Kirkland Lake Gold, owners of the remote northeastern Ontario open-pit mine, said it received the results of a positive test of the employee on March 27.

The worker, who arrived the mine site on March 12, reportedly symptom-free, began showing symptoms on March 14 and self-isolated, the company said.

The worker was taken from the site on March 16 and received a positive result on March 26. The company was informed a day later.

"All protocols were followed while the worker was on site," the company states.

Kirkland Lake Gold did not say in its release what area of the operation the employee worked in.

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The Porcupine Health Unit has contacted all employees who have been in close contact with the infected worker. They have been instructed to self-isolate and contact medical staff if symptoms show.

Health unit officials visited the mine, 185 kilometres northeast of Cochrane, on March 28 to review its COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Kirkland Lake Gold said all mine employees were notified on March 27 and instructed to be "particularly vigilant in self-monitoring for signs of symptoms, particularly until March 30 – 14 days after the worker was removed from the property.

On March 22, the company reported it was scaling back operations and reducing personnel on site to 300 employees, in a camp that usually accommodates 1,100.

At that time, the company reported no COVID-19 cases. Ore processing was still taking place as well as environmental monitoring.

"The company is not aware of any workers at Detour Lake Mine, or at any of its other operations or offices, that are showing symptoms or are in self-isolation at site," Kirkland Lake Gold said in this latest release.

"In response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, a number of health and safety protocols have been introduced. The company’s response to COVID-19 is being constantly reviewed as developments occur and will be adjusted as required to ensure the well-being of the company’s employees."