TIMMINS — A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a Timmins mine.
It is at the Glencore Kidd Operations Mine Site. In a news release, Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton said the declaration is out of an abundance of caution and in line with Ministry of Health guidance.
“Two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Our investigation has revealed that these cases are directly related. The second employee was tested at a local assessment centre on Sept. 15. The employees are currently self-isolating at home," said Catton in the Sept. 17 news release.
Earlier Thursday, the health unit announced a new case in an individual from Timmins from 40 to 59 years of age who was tested Sept. 15.
The news release does not report a new confirmed case.
So far in the Porcupine Health Unit area there have been 78 confirmed cases. Of those, 65 are recovered and nine people have died. There are four known active cases.
While there have been cases at other mines in the region, this is the first declared outbreak at a mining operation.
According to the health unit, outbreaks are declared if two or more employees with a confirmed connection test positive for the virus.
"The leadership and staff at Glencore are taking all the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the transmission of COVID–19. Public health is currently following up with employees identified as contacts," reads the news release.
The health unit is recommending other people continue to monitor for symptoms and to isolate immediately if any develop. You should then call your local assessment centre for testing.
“We understand that news could be upsetting for all involved, especially the employees of the mine and their family members,” said Catton. “But let me assure the public that we are working with Glencore and we are all committed to ensure all necessary infection prevention and control measures are ongoing to contain the spread of COVID–19.”
There are COVID-19 assessment centres in Timmins, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst, and Hornepayne.