‘No exposure risk’ in Fort Smith over Fort Chip Covid-19 reports

The NWT’s chief public health officer says there is no risk of Covid-19 exposure in Fort Smith after reports of two virus cases in nearby Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.

Earlier this week, Chief Peter Powder of the Mikisew Cree First Nation reported two cases of Covid-19 in the community of Fort Chipewyan.

Powder said those individuals had left Fort Chipewyan for essential travel before returning with the virus. Alberta Health subsequently confirmed two new cases had been identified in that region of the province.


The cases have led to concern in Fort Smith that the individuals in question may have travelled through the community or otherwise exposed the town’s residents to the virus.

While details of the individuals’ travel have not been made public, the NWT’s chief public health officer moved to reassured residents late on Friday.

Dr Kami Kandola posted to Twitter: “Fact check: No, there has been no exposure risk to the public identified in Fort Smith.

“If there is a risk of Covid-19 exposure to the public, we will publish it online. Stay safe, stay strong, be calm, and enjoy the weekend.”

The territorial government’s Covid-19 exposure notifications webpage currently shows only the existing advisory related to Yellowknife’s Anytime Fitness and RCMP detachment on October 12 and 13.


Meanwhile, the CBC reported rumours the Covid-19 patient in Inuvik had not appropriately self-isolated were dismissed by Kandola’s office.

A flurry of rumours online in the territory has followed a sudden increase in the NWT’s case count, which remains extremely small by the standard of almost any other Canadian jurisdiction.

The territory has gone from five to nine confirmed cases in the space of a week. The latest, a Yellowknife resident currently at the Gahcho Kué mine, was confirmed on Friday.

Online reaction to the new cases prompted Kandola and Premier Caroline Cochrane to urge calm, saying the backlash on social media could dissuade people from getting Covid-19 tests and thereby endanger others.