Outbreak declared at St Pat’s as NWT active cases rise to 140

Last modified: September 3, 2021 at 8:40pm

NWT health officials declared a Covid-19 outbreak at Yellowknife’s St Pat’s high school as the number of active cases in the territory rose to 140.

Friday’s update is an increase of 10 active cases on Thursday’s figure. There have now been 373 cases in all since the latest outbreak in the NWT began in the middle of August.

Yellowknife saw an increase of 14 reported cases since Thursday, alongside an increase of two in Fort Good Hope and one in Tulita.


However, an exact comparison with figures earlier in the week is difficult as the territory said five previously reported cases had been deleted “after further information became available,” while four probable cases had been included in Wednesday’s figures by mistake after “an unfortunate calculating error.” (It wasn’t clear if these two amendments, which were separately reported by the GNWT, involved some overlap.)

One more person has been admitted to hospital, the seventh of the outbreak. Their condition was not known.

“An outbreak of Covid-19 has occurred at École St Patrick High School,” the territory’s chief public health officer, Dr Kami Kandola, said in a Friday evening news release.

Dr Kandola’s office said all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Grade 10 students at the school must shift to remote learning and isolate for 10 days. “They are encouraged to arrange testing and monitor for symptoms,” the news release stated.

“Today, three additional individuals have tested positive for Covid-19. So far, no fully vaccinated individuals are part of this outbreak. The school administration is aware and letters have been sent out to parents as needed,” said Kandola.


“Public Health is investigating and contact tracing is under way. Known contacts that are vaccinated will be advised to arrange testing and continue on with classroom learning while monitoring for symptoms.”

There are now two cases involving students at Sir John Franklin high school. Kandola said they were “unlinked” to the outbreak at St Pat’s.

In all, there are now 66 active cases in Yellowknife, 25 in Fort Good Hope, and 21 in Norman Wells, where community spread continues to be reported. There was no significant shift in active case numbers among other communities.

With the long weekend approaching, the territorial government says no update will now be provided until Tuesday.


Meanwhile, the NWT government said there remained no intent to extend containment orders that expire in Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake late on Saturday.

A dedicated Covid-19 testing clinic has opened in Norman Wells, which is under a separate containment order until at least September 14. The testing clinic will run until Sunday.

In a message to Norman Wells residents, Mayor Frank Pope thanked them for “their persistence as we navigate the current Covid-19 outbreak.”

He told essential workers: “You are being stretched thin and you have shown your perseverance and strength in order to keep the community safe and prevent the spread of the virus. Thank you.”

To help remote learning, the NWT government has flown turbo sticks – which provide internet connectivity – to Norman Wells and Tulita. A public health officer had been sent to Tulita, the GNWT said, “to assist with enforcement concerns.”

Correction: September 3, 2021 – 20:39 MT. This report initially stated there is currently one case at École Sir John Franklin High School. In fact, a representative of the Covid-19 Secretariat clarified, there are now two. Our reporting has been updated accordingly.