Four more Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in the same Fort Smith household as a case reported on Wednesday, the NWT government says.
The office of Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said all four cases are “an instance of household transmission” following the initial case, an individual who returned to the community from travel outside the NWT.
All of those involved are isolating and recovering at home.
“A contact investigation indicates there are no outstanding contacts in the Northwest Territories and no public risk identified for any NWT communities or recent air travellers,” read a statement from Kandola’s office.
Thursday afternoon’s announcement brings the NWT’s total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 15.
Connecting the cases directly to the same household and an instance of travel is important as it rules out community spread – in which Covid-19 cases pass from person to person with no obvious origin.
So far, the NWT has avoided community spread, which would be a sign that the pandemic has entered a new phase in the North.
Meanwhile, a presumptive positive at the territory’s Diavik mine announced on Wednesday has now been confirmed.
That case, like one confirmed at the neighbouring Gahcho Kué mine on the same day, does not count toward the territory’s total as it involves an individual who flew directly to the mine from the south.
The territory says there is “no additional risk identified to NWT communities.”
Dr Kandola said in a statement: “While there is a natural anxiety which comes from seeing additional cases, the most important thing to remember is that the risk has not changed for the general public.”
Kandola urged residents to continue practising physical distancing, wearing a mask when in public, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick – even if the symptoms are mild.
“Until there is an effective, available treatment or vaccine, there will always be risk but we can always take some control over our risk by practising these healthy habits every day,” she said.