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5 cases of COVID-19 identified in Yellowknife, no public exposure reported

All five cases are related to travel and all are "self-isolating appropriately,” said the territorial government in a Thursday evening press release. It says limited contacts are expected from these cases.

All 5 cases are related to travel, says gov't. All cases are 'self-isolating appropriately'

Four of the cases are in a single household and related to travel outside N.W.T., but in Canada. The fifth case is related to international travel. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters)

Five cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Yellowknife.

All five cases are related to travel and all are "self-isolating appropriately," said a Thursday evening press release from Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola. It says limited contacts are expected from these cases.

Four of the cases are in a single household and related to travel outside N.W.T., but in Canada. The fifth case is related to international travel.

All the cases are doing well, she says.

Kandola says an initial investigation identified "limited contacts" related to the four people in the first household. 

There are only household contacts related to the fifth case, and all were self-isolating as a household.

The investigation has not found any exposure risks in public places.

Kandola says public health is reaching out to all contacts and will continue to follow up with the household contacts to make sure they're supported. 

On Wednesday, the government announced that wastewater testing revealed undetected cases of COVID-19 in Yellowknife.

All of these recent cases were self-isolating during the Nov. 30-to-Dec. 4 period during which wastewater testing signalled undetected COVID-19 in Yellowknife, says Kandola.

She says that finding these five cases in less than 24 hours is "an extremely positive development as the territory works to ensure risk of community transmission is contained in the city of Yellowknife."

However, she says, more information from diagnostic testing and further wastewater analysis is still needed to assess the risk of community transmission.

Getting a test 'more important than ever'

Kandola says it's "more important than ever that anyone with any symptoms at all" get tested for COVID-19.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can present to the Yellowknife Primary Care Clinic for a test at any time, she said. When public health knows about a case, it can investigate, isolate contacts, and prevent further transmission.

She's also reminding residents that test results are returned in two days, and that if they haven't travelled recently or had an exposure, they will be able to go back to their regular activities after a negative result and after their symptoms have improved. 

Kandola also stressed the importance of household self-isolation as cases across Canada stay high and people travel over the holidays. 

"Requiring self-isolation for everyone in a household if anyone has travelled is our most important layer of protection," she said. "These measures and your efforts to adhere to them stop cases like these from becoming outbreaks."

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