North

2nd Inuvik resident confirmed positive for COVID-19

Northwest Territories' Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola says the presumptive positive case in Inuvik has been confirmed.

Exposure notice lifted for Anytime Fitness and RCMP public waiting area in Yellowknife

'I want to assure you there's no cause for alarm simply because there are cases of COVID-19. It is a reminder that we need to be diligent in protecting each other,' said Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer of the N.W.T., on Wednesday. (Kate Kyle/CBC)

Northwest Territories' chief public health officer says the presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Inuvik, announced Tuesday, has been confirmed.

Dr. Kami Kandola said the case was confirmed by a lab at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife. She made the announcement during a weekly COVID-19 media briefing Wednesday. 

The case is related to last week's case in which another Inuvik resident who had travelled to the town from Alberta by road was confirmed positive for COVID-19.

Kandola says the transmission occurred within the same household where the two individuals had been self-isolating. She says the new case does not pose a threat to the public.

The chief public health officer also said Wednesday that the exposure notice for Anytime Fitness in Yellowknife and the RCMP Yellowknife detachment public waiting area has been lifted.

Kandola said more than 14 days have passed since the exposure risk was identified, which means the incubation period is over.

The two locations in the capital were identified as potential places with risk of exposure stemming from a case in Yellowknife.

'No cause for alarm'

Kandola called for calm after the recent cases. The territory had gone about half a year without any new cases.

"I want to assure you there's no cause for alarm simply because there are cases of COVID-19. It is a reminder that we need to be diligent in protecting each other. It does not mean we should panic," she said.

As cases rise down South, the risk of importation grows and Kandola says there will be more cases in the territory. But rather than focusing on individual cases, she says the real risk to residents is exposure to the virus as people go about their daily lives.

"If we want to continue to be as open as possible, we ask people just to take those steps ... avoid overcrowding, wear masks if you have to, keep your social contacts small and your spaces large," she said.

She also encouraged people who are required to self-isolate to do so responsibly.

Gahcho Kué case

When asked about the source of a positive case of a Yellowknife worker at the Gahcho Kué mine, Kandola declined to give specifics, citing patient confidentiality. 

Public health identified a "likely source of the infection" from a "high-risk contact" who recently travelled outside the territory.  

Kandola declined to give specifics about the source of a positive case of COVID-19 at the Gahcho Kué mine, citing patient confidentiality.  (Submitted by De Beers Group)

Kandola says there is currently no indication of ongoing transmission at the mine or in any community in the territory.

She also apologized after two separate errors caused some confusion in recent days. Her office cited a clerical error leading to a false positive at Gahcho Kué last week. Then on Tuesday, public health mistakenly sent out a press release indicating that what was then a presumptive case in Inuvik had been verified positive.

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