Q. What is Red Dog doing to manage COVID-19 at the operation?
Red Dog has enhanced COVID-19 protocols, requiring two negative tests to travel to the region and requiring outbound testing of Anchorage-bound employees. Additionally, every employee at Red Dog is now required to adhere to the Worker Protection Program (WPP), requiring employees to wear KN95 masks in all public and work spaces, maintain social distancing, and avoid gatherings. The dining halls have been closed, and employees are required to eat meals in their dorm rooms.
Q. How did positive cases happen with the testing protocols in place?
While regular and frequent testing has been implemented for incoming passengers since March 2020, delays in receiving test results from labs in Alaska and nationwide have been a challenge throughout the pandemic. The gestation period for the virus can vary from 2 to 14 days, and infected individuals may initially test negative while the virus is still too low to detect with testing methods. Close adherence to all established protocols is key to managing further spread of the virus on site and in our communities.
As of September 15, everyone traveling to site has been placed on the Worker Protection Program (WPP) until they receive negative test results. WPP guidelines are as follows:
- All personnel must wear a KN95 face mask, and maintain a social distance of six feet or more in public places.
- All dining and recreation areas are closed.
- All personnel are required to eat meals in their rooms.
Red Dog protocols continue to be revised to meet the evolving safety guidelines associated with the virus.
Q. How has testing capacity been expanded?
Red Dog recently received two rapid test analyzers at site, which are being used to process a limited number of COVID-19 tests. These machines have the capacity to process one test every 15 minutes. They will be used to process samples for personnel that show COVID-19 symptoms and regional personnel on the day they arrive at Red Dog and on the day of departure.
The volume of testing has also been expanded through day-of-flight testing of personnel who are departing Red Dog to Anchorage. Personnel are strongly advised to self-quarantine in Teck-provided hotels in Anchorage, pending their test results.
Testing remains a key part of our measures to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 virus by identifying positive individuals to help prevent person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
Q. Is everyone traveling into Red Dog tested?
All inbound regional personnel are tested the day of arrival to site, and the samples are analyzed at Red Dog utilizing two rapid test analyzers.
All inbound passengers on the Anchorage charter are required to test three days prior to the scheduled charter’s departure to site and are required to take an additional (2nd) test at the airport on the day of travel.
Q. Is everyone traveling out of Red Dog tested?
All personnel scheduled for a regional flight are required to receive two COVID-19 test results prior to departure. The first test (#1) takes place approximately three to four days prior to travel. The second test (#2) is collected on the day of travel and analyzed at Red Dog to achieve a rapid test result. Regional personnel must receive their negative results prior to traveling out of Red Dog.
For all outbound Anchorage personnel, testing occurs on the day of departure. Outgoing personnel are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine in Teck-provided accommodations until a negative test result is received.
Q. Is everyone at Red Dog being tested?
Maniilaq Health Center tested 100% of on-site Red Dog personnel on September 25 and 26. All test results have now been received, with 11 further positive cases being identified.
Q. What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation occurs when an individual has tested positive for the virus and is separated from people who are not positive.
Quarantine restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to an individual who has tested COVID-19 positive. Contact tracing, for positive cases, helps to identify individuals who may need to be put in quarantine due to their exposure and potential to have contracted COVID.
Q. Where is Red Dog isolating personnel that have tested positive for COVID-19? Where are personnel that may have been exposed to these individuals being quarantined?
Red Dog has designated a personnel care wing in the Personnel Accommodations Complex (PAC) to house individuals who need to be isolated or quarantined.
Q. How is Red Dog ensuring that COVID-19 does not spread from isolation/quarantine areas?
The ventilation system has been configured to only use air supplied from outside of the living facility. Therefore, air is not recycled in the facility. Also, personnel in quarantine are housed on a different floor than those in isolation.
Personnel providing meals and collecting garbage from rooms are required to maintain a minimum six-foot distance and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when servicing the care wing. They do not enter the rooms of isolated and quarantined personnel.
Additionally, rooms are thoroughly sanitized using sanitizing foggers before they are allowed to be used for normal occupancy.
Q. How is Red Dog preventing transmission off site?
To safeguard communities, Teck is providing all outgoing regional and Anchorage Charter passengers with a day-of-flight COVID-19 test prior to their departure. Regional personnel must have two negative test results to be allowed to fly off site. Anchorage Charter personnel are strongly advising to self-quarantine in Teck-provided hotels in Anchorage, pending their test results. This temporary benefit is available to all employees and contractors working at the Red Dog Mine.
All personnel are encouraged to read and follow all their Community Health Mandates and guidelines while home on their R&R.
Q. Why is Red Dog continuing to operate?
Red Dog Operations is focused on safeguarding the health and safety of our employees and communities, while maintaining safe and responsible operations.
Red Dog Operations is following response protocols to ensure the health and safety of all personnel at the operation is maintained. We are also working with public health authorities and taking precautionary steps to manage the risk of transmission. Enhanced protocols have been implemented to provide necessary control to reduce transmission.
Red Dog is working closely with NANA and regional leadership regarding the recent cases at site. With help from the state and Maniilaq Association, Red Dog is able to continue to operate safely.
Q. Is contact tracing taking place at Red Dog, and who is doing it?
Contact tracing is being performed by trained personnel in the Health & Safety department at Red Dog and by the State of Alaska Public Health Nursing.