North

Yellowknife school outbreak officially over after 71st case recovers

A school outbreak declared on May 2 in Yellowknife has officially ended now that the last person to catch COVID-19 has made a full recovery. 

No hospitalizations were recorded in the N.W.T.'s biggest COVID-19 outbreak

The outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife declared on May 2 has officially ended now that the last person to catch COVID-19 has made a full recovery.  ( Liny Lamberink/CBC)

A school outbreak declared on May 2 in Yellowknife has officially ended now that the last person to catch COVID-19 has made a full recovery, said the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer in a news release Monday.

In all, 71 confirmed cases were tied to the N.J. Macpherson school outbreak. None were hospitalized. 

The COVID-19 outbreak was the N.W.T.'s largest to date and prompted significant public upset. 

Schools in Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀ , Dettah, and Ndilǫ were closed for two weeks on May 3

Thousands of people were asked to isolate, some for far longer than the usual 14 days as various household members tested positive at different times. 

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola nodded to the many families affected, acknowledging "the selflessness of those who isolated to keep their friends, families, co-workers and communities safe, and all of those who supported these individuals during this period."

"Without these efforts, the outbreak could have turned out much differently."  

The outbreak has also had an impact on the territory's reopening plans. 

Last week Kandola explained that vaccinated travelers entering the N.W.T. still have to self-isolate and receive a negative test to be cleared, although the rules could be updated by early summer. Both Yukon and Nunavut have already relaxed self-isolation rules for those who can prove they've been immunized. 

In the N.W.T., that rule won't change until at least early summer, in part, Kandola said, because cases of partly vaccinated people passing COVID-19 to others were documented during the N.J. Macpherson outbreak. 

Even with the outbreak over, masks remain mandatory in indoor public places in Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀ , Dettah, and Ndilǫ, Kandola said. 

That order will remain in effect until the end of the school year on June 28. 

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