Covid-19 outbreak declared at Fort Smith high school

Last modified: February 8, 2022 at 6:18pm

The Northwest Territories government declared a Covid-19 outbreak at Paul William Kaeser High School in Fort Smith on Tuesday, while the active number of cases across the territory dropped by more than 100. 

The exposure notices state that students, teachers and staff in affected classrooms will be provided with a letter outlining testing and isolation requirements. Those in unaffected classrooms are advised to self-monitor and, if they develop symptoms, to immediately isolate and arrange for testing.

The high school is among a number of schools in Ulukhaktok, Tuktoyaktuk, Hay River, and Yellowknife, along with Joseph Burr Tyrrell Elementary School in Fort Smith, where outbreaks have been recently reported. The NWT government declares an outbreak at schools when two or more people have developed Covid-19 within a 14-day period.


The YWCA in Yellowknife sent a notice to parents in Yellowknife on Monday, which was shared with Cabin Radio, advising that children who have been identified as direct contacts of a positive Covid-19 case should not attend YWCA afterschool programming until they have tested negative at the public health testing site.

“If a child is exposed to Covid and continues to attend programming, there is increased risk that staff who move between programs day to day, could expose other groups and children,” the notice states.

“Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep our community safe while offering the best programming we can.”

There are currently 823 active Covid-19 cases across the territory, a drop of 102 from the 925 reported on Monday. Among those cases, 354 are in the Yellowknife region, 203 in the Beaufort Delta, 77 each in Fort Smith and the Hay River area, 56 in the Dehcho, 35 in the Tłı̨chǫ region, and 21 in the Sahtu.

According to the territory’s latest numbers, 203 cases were resolved and there were 101 new infections, and two additional hospitalizations related to Covid-19 between Monday and Tuesday night. Active case numbers dropped in every region save for Fort Smith, which increased by seven.


Health service reductions

The NWT Health and Social Services Authority announced on Monday that there would be reductions in services at health centres in several Beaufort Delta communities this week.

The authority also said laboratory services at the Yellowknife Primary Care Centre would be closed until February 14. In response, Stanton Territorial Hospital is expanding its laboratory hours this week and will be open from 7:30am to 3:30pm.

Finally, the Fort Smith health centre is experiencing service delays this week. The authority said in-person services will not be impacted but phone calls may not be answered in a timely manner.