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3 new COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife, no evidence of outbreak at École St. Patrick High School

There are three new cases of COVID-19 in Yellowknife, but there is no evidence of an outbreak of COVID-19 at École St. Patrick High School where an exposure was reported on Thursday.

2 cases are in same household and related to domestic travel, 1 case related to international travel

There are three new cases of COVID-19 in Yellowknife, but no evidence of an outbreak of COVID-19 at École St. Patrick High School where an exposure was reported on Thursday. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

There are three new cases of COVID-19 in Yellowknife, but there is no evidence of an outbreak of COVID-19 at École St. Patrick High School where an exposure was reported on Thursday, says the Northwest Territories chief public health officer.

On Thursday, the N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said there had been an exposure at a Yellowknife school, and that 40 contacts had been identified. The school was later confirmed to be École St. Patrick High School.

In a news release on Friday, Kandola said there has not been "documented transmission" of COVID-19 at the school, "meaning the school is not in an outbreak." No further risk as been identified outside the 40 contacts at the school, and the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer continues to monitor the situation, she said. 

Two of the new cases are from the same household and are linked to domestic travel, according to the Friday night news release. Yellowknife Public Health is investigating and seven contacts have been identified and are isolating.

The third person was infected through international travel. No contacts have been identified related to that case.

At this time, there are no exposure notifications related to the three new cases, says the release. 

However, the release did include an exposure notification: anyone who was at a bonfire at the Yellowknife sandpits on April 16 between 9:30 p.m. and midnight, or on April 17 between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. must self-isolate immediately for 14 days after their exposure and contact Yellowknife Public Health.

People who live with anyone who was at a sandpits bonfire during those times must also self-isolate for the same duration.

École St. Patrick High School update

Kandola said on Friday that letters had been given to the 40 contacts at École St. Patrick High School and their families. School administrators also sent a general letter to all staff and students at the school.

People who were told they are contacts by public health should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their exposure, self-monitor for symptoms, and notify Yellowknife Public Health if any symptoms arise.

They should also follow Yellowknife Public Health guidance for testing. Kandola's office recommends that all contacts, even those without symptoms, get tested during their 14 days of isolation.

Household members of contacts should also self-isolate if they are not able to safely isolate in a separate residence or suite from the contact, says Kandola. 

"This means that household members of contacts who have not been isolating separately should self-isolate until risk assessments can be completed by public health," she says.

While fully vaccinated household members have "significant protection" against COVID-19 symptoms, they are not 100 per cent protected, says Kandola, which is why she is asking all household members of contacts to continue self-isolating. 

Everyone self-isolating must monitor for symptoms and contact Yellowknife Public Health if they develop any symptoms, no matter how mild, says Kandola.

If any École St. Patrick High School student, staff member, or member of the public believes they may be a contact of a COVID-19 case, but has not been notified, they should call Yellowknife Public Health at 867-767-9120.

People with questions about the COVID-19 situation at École St. Patrick High School can call 811.

People can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test at the testing centre at 108 Archibald Street online.

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