The Northwest Territories Chief Public Health Officer has declared an outbreak of Covid-19 at NJ Macpherson School in Yellowknife with one case confirmed and four others considered “probable”.
The infection was “not linked to travel outside the Northwest Territories,” Dr. Kami Kandola said, although she did not confirm community spread or use the phrase in a press release late Saturday. first published by Kam Lake MLA Caitlin Cleveland.
NJ Macpherson will switch to remote learning for two weeks starting Monday, May 3.
Dr Kandola said she was “suspending all organized extra-curricular activities for children and young people (sports, arts, others) until further notice”.
On Sunday morning, his office clarified: “Children and youth activities refer to extra-curricular activities organized through schools or other community groups that have regular meeting times. The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer also advises against more spontaneous group gatherings at this time. This only concerns Yellowknife. This does not include child care centers and day homes for people who are not required to self-isolate.
Affected residents considered contacts in the cases were called by public health officials throughout Saturday and Sunday.
In two cases, the chief public health officer said, not all contacts could be identified. As a result, exposure advisories have been issued for two locations.
If you were at the Quiznos restaurant at 314 Old Airport Road on Thursday, April 29 from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., notify public health immediately. There was “no continued risk of exposure,” Kandola said.
If you were in NJ Macpherson during regular school hours any day from Monday, April 26 through Thursday, April 29, you must notify public health immediately and self-isolate for 14 days beginning Saturday, May 1. You should also watch for symptoms of Covid-19 and get tested immediately if symptoms appear.
Household members who are fully immunized — meaning more than two weeks have passed since their second dose of vaccine — “can work safely if no one in the household is symptomatic or identified as a close contact,” Kandola said.
Hundreds of people were understood to be heading into isolation as contacts, including all of the students who had been with NJ Macpherson on any of those four days and any of their parents who were not not fully vaccinated. The GNWT did not immediately provide the full number of contacts identified to date. A spokesperson said the investigation was ongoing and the number changed regularly.
In a brief statement early Sunday morning, NJ Macpherson School said the Kandola office is “working closely with school administrators and Yellowknife public health personnel to ensure the public health response appropriate is in force”.
The individual with the confirmed case is self-isolating and doing well, the territory said. Of the other four probable cases, two are presumptive positives having tested positive using rapid tests. All four are awaiting laboratory confirmation. They are “closely linked to the confirmed case,” Kandola said.
More: Read the full GNWT advisory NJ Macpherson
Following: Read Dr. Kandola’s letter to parents (contains isolation tips)
Saturday’s declaration of an outbreak is the first in Yellowknife, although outbreaks have been declared in several remote labor camps in the Northwest Territories in recent months. In each case, the outbreak was contained fairly quickly and the number of cases rarely exceeded a handful.
‘Now is not the time to panic,’ Premier Caroline Cochrane said in an overnight statement. posted on his Facebook page. She warned residents to prepare for the possibility of more cases being confirmed in the coming days and urged them to follow existing public health guidelines.
“Stay positive, stay safe,” the prime minister wrote.
Are you affected by this announcement?
If you are now self-isolating following Saturday’s advisory, or are otherwise affected, let us know how it impacts you and your family and how you are coping. You can reach us at the Cabin Radio newsroom using this form.