COVID-19 in High Level, Alta., puts some N.W.T. residents on edge
Mayor reports B117 variant in child under 16, business closures
Alberta doesn't report COVID-19 case numbers by community, but High Level mayor Crystal McAteer says she has spoken to the parents of a child under 16 who've learned their daughter has the B117 variant.
"Fortunately, she's not really, really sick, but she still has to isolate for 10 days, be re-tested and then go into 14 days of quarantine again along with her family," McAteer said Tuesday.
High Level, a town of roughly 3,200 people, has so far not experienced any major COVID-19 outbreaks, McAteer said, but Mackenzie County, of which High Level is a part, reported 59 active cases Tuesday.
"I'm assuming quite a few of them are from High Level because of the businesses that we do have shutdown," McAteer said.
That includes a grocery store, Pizza Hut and KFC.
In addition, McAteer says that three elementary school classrooms out of the town's four schools are currently empty while students self-isolate.
"I've been really proud of our community," McAteer said. "People have, for the most part, been doing very, very well. And I guess you just can't let your guard down."
High Level is about 275 kilometres south of Enterprise, N.W.T., the first town north of the border. It's not unusual for people in the N.W.T. to visit High Level and vice versa.
Enterprise Mayor Michael St. Amour counts himself among the northerners who visited the town often — in his case, twice a month — before the pandemic.
News of the cases hit close to home.
"I pray for the people of High Level. It's scary," he said.
St. Amour said he's grateful people in his community have all been offered the vaccine.
McAteer said she too missed being able to cross the border, without self-isolating.
"Our connection is to the territories and we're really feeling it, not being able to come up there," she said.