City facilities closed and youth activities canceled as Yellowknife grapples with school outbreak

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A person linked to the NJ Macpherson School in Yellowknife has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Chief Public Health Officer to declare the first school outbreak in the Northwest Territories and halt the outbreak. in-person learning at this school for two weeks.

Final lab tests are pending, but Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said four probable cases are closely linked to the case, in a statement late Saturday evening.

After-school activities for children and young people in the city are suspended until further notice, Kandola said.

The City of Yellowknife also closed all of its facilities on Sunday and said it plans to update the public on Monday.

“Our administration is working to determine options to see if we can proceed with limited openings, in the [Chief Public Health Office] guidelines, of course, for the week ahead,” said Yellowknife City Manager Sheila Bassi-Kellet.

Anyone who was in NJ Macpherson during regular hours April 26-29 is asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

The school — part of Yellowknife School District No. 1 — will switch to remote learning starting Monday for the same period. A letter from public health has been sent to students, families and staff who have not been identified as close contacts.

School-related people who received both vaccines at least two weeks ago can work safely if no one in the household has symptoms or has been notified by public health that it is of close contact. If you haven’t been told to go get tested, public health said, you don’t need to at this time.

A public exposure notice was also issued for anyone who was at:

  • Restaurant Quiznos on Thursday April 29, between 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Suspensions and Cancellations

The Kandola office confirmed on Sunday that the cancellation of all children and youth activities refers to activities organized through schools or community groups that have regular meeting times.

Individual organizations have announced the suspension of their activities until further notice on social media, including NWT Basketball, the NWT Soccer Association and NWT Softball.

The new positive case brings the number of confirmed positive cases in Yellowknife to seven.

Last week, the public learned that five of the previous six cases were the B117 variant, which originated in the UK.

The office of the director of public health then said that all new infections in the capital would be treated as variants of concern until confirmed otherwise.

Kandola is also urging people to oppose spontaneous group gatherings in Yellowknife.

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