A Covid-19 case has been identified in Hay River, the territorial government said on Saturday, bringing the NWT’s total number of reported cases to 21.
The person had been travelling elsewhere in Canada before returning to the NWT. They isolated appropriately on their return and are doing well, the territory said in an advisory.
The latest confirmed case follows an announcement of five Covid-19 cases in Yellowknife on Thursday. Identification of those cases came as a result of increased testing after traces of the virus turned up in sewage samples.
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, said there were “limited contacts” associated with the latest case.
However, Kandola said there was “some exposure risk” on two flights the person had taken to reach Hay River.
Those flights were said by the NWT government to be Canadian North flight 238 from Edmonton to Yellowknife on December 4 (rows affected are 4 -10) and First Air flight 608 from Yellowknife to Hay River on December 4 (rows affected are 7-13).
First Air and Canadian North have merged over the past year to become one airline using the name Canadian North. Flight 608 may have appeared to passengers as a Canadian North flight.
“If you were a passenger seated in one of the affected rows on the Canadian North flight [from Edmonton to Yellowknife], please continue to self-isolate and contact public health at 867-767-9120 to arrange for testing if you have not been contacted yet,” the territorial government’s advisory stated.
All affected passengers on the Yellowknife-Hay River flight have already been contacted, the territory said.
“A small number of additional contacts have all been reached and provided isolation advice,” the advisory continued. No other public exposure risks were identified.
“What all of our recent cases demonstrate is that the two most important pieces to keeping transmission low are responsible self-isolation and coming forward for testing,” Kandola said in a statement.
“Self-isolation after travelling outside the NWT will stop cases of Covid-19 from becoming outbreaks and keep our communities safe.
“Getting tested at the first sign of Covid-19 symptoms will keep you safer by making sure you get medical advice quickly. It will keep your friends, family, and roommates safer by getting you the guidance to make informed choices about how to prevent transmission. And it will keep your community stronger and healthier by helping public health professionals investigate contacts, get folks isolated, and break any potential chains of infection.”
Kandola said those measures were now “more crucial than ever” with high rates of Covid-19 infection in the south and the festive travel season getting under way.