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First COVID-19 fatality in NW Ontario was a Lac des Iles mine worker

Impala Canada says 'this terrible sadness weighs heavily on all of us'
Lac des Iles mine 2019 new
The Lac des Iles palladium mine is 85 km north of Thunder Bay (Impala Canada photo)

THUNDER BAY —  Impala Canada has confirmed that the Thunder Bay resident who died last week due to complications from COVID-19 worked at the company's Lac Des Iles mine.

The man, in his 50s, passed away Thursday night at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

In a statement Monday, Impala expressed its sympathies to his wife, children, other family members and to the man's immediate crew.

It said he was respected by his co-workers, who remember him as being full of life despite underlying health conditions.

"This terrible sadness weighs heavily on all of us at LDI," the company said.

As of Monday, there have been 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 directly connected to the mine.

In each case, Impala said, symptoms developed sometime between April 3 and April 20.

It said 13 of the cases are now considered resolved, meaning 14 days have passsed since the onset of symptoms.

"These team members are feeling well," the statement added.

The mine has been in care and maintenance mode since April 13, and will remain in that status indefinitely.

Impala said the care and maintenance crew was replaced Monday with another crew which "had absolutely no contact with the departing crew."

It said all existing pandemic response protocols will be strictly followed, including expanded screening for symptoms, and a daily temperature check.

The replacement crew, the company said, consists of individuals with personal, family and community circumstances "that are least vulnerable to the risks associated with COVID-19."

Monday marked the end of self-isolation for mineworkers who exited the site on April 13, provided they have shown no symptoms and have not tested positive for COVID-19.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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