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More Pogo Workers Infected

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Officials with the company that owns the Pogo gold mine says more workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

But Northern Star Resources would not say how many workers at the mine have tested positive. A company spokesperson said Tuesday that it’s, quote, “a small number” of employees.

The spokesperson said in an email that other mine workers that have been in close contact with the infected workers have all been isolated or quarantined away from the mine. The spokesperson wouldn’t say how many have been isolated or quarantined  – only that it’s, quote, “a limited number.” And she said those employees are being monitored by the company’s medical team or other consultants.

But the spokesperson declined to say where those workers lived.  And she declined to talk on tape.

Northern Star announced last week (April 5) that a Pogo worker had tested positive for COVID-19, and that the worker was being treated at his home in Fairbanks.  The company said in an April 5th news release that 14 other workers who were suspected of having been exposed to the virus would all remain in isolation for 14 days and under observation and treatment if needed.

The news release said in response to the COVID-19 case, the company would continue social-distancing policies and stringent hygiene and cleaning standards at the mine. The company spokesperson said Tuesday those measures would remain in place and that no additional response was under consideration.

The Pogo gold mine employs about 300 workers at its facility, located 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction. The town has had only one case of COVID-19 reported – a person who lives in Delta and works as a Department of the Army civilian worker on Fort Greely.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.