Hay River extends testing as NWT battles two Covid conundrums

A file photo of a sign asking Yellowknifers to wear masks on entry to a building
A file photo of a sign asking Yellowknifers to wear masks on entry to a building. Luisa Esteban/Cabin Radio

Covid-19 testing in Hay River was extended to the weekend with no cases yet found that might explain a persistent trace of the coronavirus in the town’s sewage system.

New samples dating to January 11 still contain signs of Covid-19 but there have so far been no new positive tests, the territory’s health authority said on Saturday morning.

Testing for Covid-19 will be available at 52 Woodland Drive from 11am till 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, public health officials expanded the list of people who should come forward for a test.



“Anyone at any stage of self-isolation in Hay River or Kátł’odeeche First Nation from January 1 until present is urged to get tested,” read Saturday’s advisory. The initial date range had been January 1-6.

Test appointments can be booked by calling (867) 874-8400. Don’t travel to a clinic unless you’ve called ahead.

“Currently, there is not enough information to confidently assess public risk,” said Dr Andi Delli-Pizzi, the territory’s deputy chief public health officer.

“But with evidence pointing towards at least one undetected case of Covid-19 in Hay River, we are asking the public to assist in containing the situation quickly to prevent transmission.”



No development in Yellowknife

The NWT is fighting Covid-19 on two fronts. In Yellowknife, there was no immediate update on Friday’s news that a person had been diagnosed with the disease despite neither travelling nor having any apparent contact with anyone who had.

There has so far been no suggestion of any change to public health restrictions in the city or territory – a primary concern of residents who worry community spread may move them closer toward the locked-down lives of those farther south.

Community spread has not yet been confirmed, and the phrase was pointedly avoided by the chief public health officer in issuing Friday’s advisory.

Efforts to understand how the person contracted Covid-19 continue. Until all avenues of inquiry are exhausted, it’s thought unlikely the territory will rush to declare community spread (where cases spread from person to person without any obvious source of infection).

The territory separately appeared to quash a rumour on Friday that hospital treatment had been involved. A spokesperson said nobody to their knowledge had required hospitalization.

Only one patient, back in the early stages of the pandemic, is so far known to have been admitted to hospital in the NWT for reasons related to Covid-19.