Hunter Callbreath prepares to get an asymptomatic COVID-19 test at the clinic in the Community Hall in Dease Lake. (TCG photo)

Hunter Callbreath prepares to get an asymptomatic COVID-19 test at the clinic in the Community Hall in Dease Lake. (TCG photo)

Mining company steps up to help with COVID outbreak in Tahltan territory

Newcrest Mining and Tahltan emergency team conduct widespread asymptomatic testing

Amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in Tahltan communities, Newcrest Mining has stepped up to help the Tahltan Emergency Management Team.

“The Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management Team (TNCEMT) met again today and would like to inform the Tahltan Nation that 11 individuals have been confirmed positive for COVID-19,” an update released Oct. 4 stated. “Three different clusters have been identified and we expect the number of positive cases to likely rise.”

The release notes all 11 individuals were double vaccinated and warned the residents of Dease Lake, Iskut and Telegraph Creek that even fully vaccinated people can contract and transmit the virus.

In order to stem the spread, Newcrest and the TNCEMT completed widespread asymptomatic testing at the Community Hall in Dease Lake and the Iskut Band Office today (Oct. 4).

“Newcrest/Red Chris is thankful to be being working in Tahltan Territory and take our relationship and partnership with the Tahltan Nation very seriously,” said Ben Wither, manager health, safety, environment, communities and security, Newcrest/Red Chris Mine. “Like any good partner, Newcrest/Red Chris has and will continue to stand ready to assist when called upon by the Tahltan Nation.”

The Tahltan Central Government (TCG) was grateful for the support.

“The Tahltan Nation, like the rest of the world, continues to face the difficult realities that is COVID-19,” said Chad Day, TCG president.

“Access to timely medical support has been a serious and long-standing issue for our three Tahltan communities. We acknowledge and thank the team at Newcrest, who own and operate the Red Chris Mine, who have eagerly stepped up to support our team and communities with COVID-19 testing. Their help is deeply appreciated and yet another example of our flourishing partnership.”

The Nation is also calling on all residents to commit to the following measures.

Limit your movements to allow contract tracing to be completed;

Remain within your personal bubble, unless you must go to work or you are going onto the land to exercise with those in your household (people you live with);

Avoid non-essential travel (masks, sanitizing and six feet distancing) if outside of your bubble;

Do not visit other communities; and

If you have been in direct contact with anyone who has tested positive or is a confirmed positive you must self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days.

If you are employed in-territory, you must self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days.

If you are employed outside of territory or on-site in-territory, please contact your employer for direction.

Contact information:

People’s Haven at Dease Lake, (250) 771-5577

Iskut Band Office, (250) 234-3331

CHR at Telegraph Creek, (250) 235-3047