All Yellowknife schools closed as 6 new cases and 10 probable cases of COVID-19 identified

Several public exposure notices have been issued following news that the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School now includes six cases of COVID-19 and 10 probable cases of the illness.

Several public exposure notices issued for Yellowknife

The city of Yellowknife on May 2, 2021. Schools in Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah move to remote learning on Monday, May 3, as public health officials grapple with a growing cluster of COVID-19. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

Several public exposure notices have been issued following news that the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife now includes six cases and 10 probable cases of COVID-19. 

All schools in Yellowknife, including those in Ndilo and Dettah, are closed starting Monday at 8 a.m. and masks are now mandatory while indoors in public spaces in the city. 

The information came in a news release late Sunday from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer. That office did not declare community transmission of COVID-19 in Yellowknife, noting that the six new confirmed cases over the weekend are part of a single cluster. 

All students, staff and volunteers who were at N.J. Macpherson between April 26-30 are now considered close contacts because "there have been multiple exposures at each grade level in the school."

Non-essential travel in and out of Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah "should be suspended/deferred until further notice," with the exception of medical appointments, and people are encouraged to work from home. 

'We are ready'

In a joint statement, Premier Caroline Cochrane, Health Minister Julie Green and Education Minster RJ Simpson said: "We are ready for this challenge."

They cite the successful resolution of the outbreak in Fort Liard, N.W.T., as an example of what could happen here.

"There is going to be a lot of speculation and information in the public realm over the next few days," the statement reads. "It's important you get your information from reputable sources. Rumours and incorrect information only make it more difficult for health officials to respond to this situation."

The statement asks people to find the latest public health information on the territory's COVID-19 response website

The statement also nods to the fact that children may be among those who've contracted COVID-19. 

"It's important that we all continue to do our part — especially when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable, and those who cannot get vaccinated yet, like our young people."

Exposure notices

Public exposure notices include:

  • A birthday party at the Multiplex DND gym on May 1 between 1 and 3 p.m. (isolate immediately and contact public health).
  • School bus route 2, April 26-29, morning or afternoon (isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19).
  • School bus route 12, April 29 and 30, morning or afternoon (isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19).
  • Sushi North, April 30, between 6 and 6:30 pm (self-monitor but no need to self-isolate).
  • Walmart, May 1, between 12 and 12:30 pm (self-monitor but no need to self-isolate).

Earlier on Sunday, an exposure notice was also issued for Quiznos for anyone who was at the restaurant on Thursday between 6:15 and 7:15 p.m.

Read the full public health exposure notice here

Read the letter to parents from YK1 school district here.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the school outbreak and isolation guidelines are posted here