Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, says he has tested positive for Covid-19 and a family member also has the disease. They are the two cases identified in Yellowknife this week, he said.
Norn told Cabin Radio he received a positive test on Wednesday. He took the test after reading the NWT chief public health officer’s call for people to be tested when the virus responsible for Covid-19 turned up in a Yellowknife sewage sample.
Norn, who lives in Yellowknife, had travelled to the Alberta community of Grande Prairie for a family emergency at the start of April. He said he isolated as instructed from April 4 to 18 before visiting Yellowknife’s Taste of Saigon restaurant on April 19, a day after his isolation ended.
Once Norn tested positive, that trip to Taste of Saigon triggered an exposure advisory. The Norn family’s positive tests also ended up involving the city’s École St Patrick High School, where some 40 contacts have been identified and which sent a letter to parents on Thursday night.
“I followed all the rules, I was up front with everybody,” Norn told Cabin Radio on Friday morning. He said he and his family member were doing well physically, but added he was “mentally exhausted.”
Asked what could have led him to remain infectious beyond the two-week isolation period, he acknowledged his first thought had been: “How the hell did this happen?”
“I did talk to a medical expert,” Norn said. “They said the variant could stay in your body for 17 days.”
There is currently limited scientific evidence related to the longevity of variants of Covid-19, as most are relatively new and have not been thoroughly studied.
The territorial government has not confirmed whether either of this week’s two cases involve variants of concern. Samples have been sent to labs in southern Canada for analysis.
Norn said he was coming forward because he realized residents would have “all kinds of speculation” about what had happened.
“I stayed home,” he said, referring to residents’ concern about whether isolation rules had been broken.
After Norn spoke with Cabin Radio, Yellowknife’s Racquet Club gym said there had been potential exposure at the gym on April 18 – the day Norn said his isolation period would have come to an end – related to the cases involving Norn and his family member. All those involved have been contacted.
Norn has received his first shot of Moderna’s vaccine against Covid-19 – posting a photo of it on March 26 – but not the second, as is required for full vaccination.
“I’m feeling OK,” he said on Friday. “Just a little tired, mentally fried.”