Three non-resident workers – two at the Diavik diamond mine and one in Yellowknife – have tested positive for Covid-19, the NWT government said on Wednesday evening.
All of the cases are related to travel outside the NWT. The three are all isolating and said by the territory to be doing well. The NWT government said there was a “low risk of transmission.”
The territory did, however, issue an exposure notice for one Air Canada flight.
People seated in rows seven to 13 of flight AC 8225 from Edmonton to Yellowknife on Monday, December 21 are being asked to arrange a Covid-19 test and continue isolating. Public health officials are contacting those affected.
According to an NWT government advisory, the two Diavik workers travelled to the mine separately and each tested positive on arrival. The risk of further transmission at Diavik was said by the territory to be “very low.”
With the exception of those in affected rows on the Air Canada flight, all contacts in the Yellowknife case were all “in the non-resident worker’s home province, not in the NWT,” the territory stated. That province was not identified.
As they involve workers who had recently travelled into the NWT from elsewhere, the cases don’t count toward the territory’s existing total of 24 confirmed cases.
They do, however, underscore the risk of the virus spreading in the NWT as holiday travel increases.
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, urged the territory’s residents to keep gatherings small over Christmas as numbers of cases tick up.
“We are now regularly seeing new cases of Covid-19 in the NWT. So far, they have been contained because people are taking the right steps to keep communities safe,” Kandola wrote.
“We can’t assume that every instance of Covid-19 will be contained. We need to look at our individual and collective behaviour to make sure transmission is limited if Covid-19 is present in the community.
“This holiday season, it is critical to keep gatherings small to reduce transmission risk. Any time many people are close together, the risk of transmission is significantly higher.”