Anyone who spent time at Yellowknife’s Anytime Fitness gym or RCMP detachment public waiting area during narrow time windows on October 12 and 13, may have been exposed to Covid-19 and must isolate.
The territorial government issued the instruction in an advisory on Friday afternoon, having earlier announced three new presumptive positive cases of Covid-19 in the NWT – two in Yellowknife.
One person came back to Yellowknife and isolated, the territory said, but gave Covid-19 to another member of their household who did not.
“Preventing household transmission can be difficult because sometimes we need to care for other people in our homes with Covid-19,” deputy chief public health officer Andy Delli-Pizzi told reporters on Friday.
Here are the two Yellowknife locations and times where the NWT government says a risk of exposure has been identified:
- Monday, October 12 between 3pm and 4:30pm at Anytime Fitness
- Tuesday, October 13 between 11am and 11:30am at the RCMP detachment public waiting area
“Everyone who was in these locations at these times must self-isolate at home for the next 14 days and contact the Yellowknife Public Health Unit at 867-767-9120 to get additional advice,” the territory stated in its advisory.
“Those you live with must also self-isolate for 14 days if you cannot safely self-isolate at home away from them.
“During this period, anyone self-isolating must monitor themselves for symptoms closely.”
Second test results could arrive by Saturday
Delli-Pizzi said anyone self-isolating must monitor themselves for symptoms, adding the territory is prepared to deploy rapid testing as needed.
The third new presumptive positive case, in Inuvik, was an individual who isolated appropriately, the territory said. “The initial assessment is that there were no potential contacts, though the investigation continues,” read Friday’s advisory.
Results from tests designed to confirm the presumptive positive cases have been sent to Alberta. Delli-Pizzi expects those tests’ results as soon as Saturday.
Friday’s exposure risk advisory is the first such public warning the territory has had to issue since the pandemic began.
In each of the first five cases confirmed in the territory – all of which came in April or earlier – no public appeal was required.
“A public notice is not abnormal,” Delli-Pizzi said. “We provide these notices not because we believe there is a high risk, but because there is some risk.”
He said Covid-19 is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets. Indirect transmission, such as through touching surfaces, is possible but not highly likely.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the person following self-isolation rules ended up nonetheless passing the virus to another household member.
Self-isolation, if followed to the letter, requires isolation even from other members of the same household for the 14-day period.
A spokesperson for the chief public health officer, who acknowledged public health restrictions were never likely to be 100-percent effective, said they would not comment on the details of the case.
Meanwhile, Yellowknife’s drive-through Covid-19 testing clinic will be open from 12pm until 4pm each day this weekend in case of extra testing demand.
Emily Blake contributed reporting.