Anyone Who Has Travelled Outside the NWT Self-Isolating or Self-Monitoring April 14 Through April 17 in Yellowknife: Arrange for COVID-19 Testing

News Type: 
Advisories

YELLOWKNIFE April 19, 2021 – Wastewater samples analyzed in Yellowknife from April 14 to 17, 2021 have signaled undetected COVID-19.

Public risk

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is confident that this positive signal indicates there is likely at least undetected case of COVID-19 in Yellowknife.

It is possible that this signal is from one or more individuals who have travelled and who are now appropriately self-isolating or self-monitoring within a 14-day travel entry window or have even left the territory. It is also possible that COVID-19 has been transmitted to others.

Currently there is not enough information to confidently assess public risk.

With evidence pointing towards at least one undetected case of COVID-19 in Yellowknife, the OCPHO is asking the public to assist us in containing the situation quickly and prevent ongoing transmission.

Results from individuals presenting for diagnostic testing and additional wastewater surveillance analysis expected in the coming days will allow us to better characterize the risk to the public in Yellowknife and the NWT.

What You Need to Do

If between April 14 and April 17, you were in Yellowknife at any stage of your self-isolation or self-monitoring period because you entered the NWT from another jurisdiction, you should get tested now even if you don’t have symptoms.

Essential services workers who were not self-isolating because they received an exemption to work and who were in Yellowknife between April 14 and April 17 should also be tested.

Nunavut travellers who were not self-isolating because they received an exemption and who were in Yellowknife between April 14 and April 17 should also be tested.

This recommendation to get tested does not apply to high-risk essential service workers without symptoms who were already tested as part of their permission to work (e.g. health care workers).

These workers should continue to follow the routine advice from their employer or permission to work letter.

Those who are self-isolating because someone else in the household has travelled should continue self-isolating. They do not need to get tested unless they develop symptoms.

If anyone in the home develops any symptoms of COVID-19, they should contact their local public health unit and arrange for testing.

Otherwise, public health guidance in Yellowknife and the NWT remains the same:

  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, especially household members of someone who was isolating in Yellowknife during the time frame above, should arrange testing for COVID-19 and follow isolation guidance.
  • Follow self-isolation guidance as required.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wear a non-medical mask in public places.

How to get tested in Yellowknife

If you have symptoms and cannot find an appointment online, a limited number of walk-ins for people with symptoms can be accommodated.
 

Self-Isolation Centre Testing

  • Only for those currently self-isolating at the Chateau Nova
  • Go to Chateau Nova 4th Floor – Follow Signs 
  • Open April 20, 21, 22 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Walk-In
  • You may be given an appointment time to come back later in the day depending on the number of people waiting at that time.

You can book an appointment online at: https://www.nthssa.ca/en/services/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-updates  

If you are unable to book online: 

  • Call public health at 867-767-9120 to book your appointment. If the line is busy, try again.
  • Staff will take your call.
  • Tell them you have recently travelled or were self-isolating between March 31 - April 17 and that you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Staff will take your name and number and set up a call-back with a public health nurse.
  • A public health nurse will call you back, complete screening, and help you set up your appointment.
  • When you come for testing, please wear your mask.

If you do not have transport you can arrange for shuttle service by calling 867-446-1194. Accessible transport is available upon request, please call the shuttle and let them know about any accessibility needs in advance.

For Those Who Need Testing in Other Communities

  • Contact your local health centre or public health unit.
  • Inform them you were self-isolating between April 14 and April 17 and require a COVID-19 test.
  • Follow all directions from healthcare providers on getting tested safely at the health centre or public health unit.

Remember: please do not go to the health centre or public health unit without booking an appointment or calling ahead – especially if you are being tested in Yellowknife.

Confidential and supportive

If you do receive a positive COVID-19 test, public health officials will work with you to confidentially investigate any people you saw recently who may be at-risk, and any locations where there may have been an exposure risk.

Your information will be kept confidential and public health officials will follow-up on your well-being regularly throughout your isolation period to help keep you safe.

Wastewater testing basics

Regular collection of wastewater from Yellowknife and testing for COVID-19 has been ongoing for several months.

The samples that tested positive since April 14 were tested at Taiga lab in Yellowknife. Taiga lab began testing regularly in March and continues to validate testing protocols. Several samples of Yellowknife’s wastewater collected since April 14 are providing signals that indicate positive cases in the city.

The OCPHO will receive confirmation of these results from the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg later this week.

These early results from Taiga Lab allow us to respond quickly and seek identification of the source of the signal as soon as possible. NML is supporting Taiga Lab to take on wastewater testing. We are working closely together to ensure a seamless transition – and that transition is currently ongoing.

When there are known individuals with COVID-19 in the community, public health expects signals from wastewater, too. Unexpected results include positive wastewater signals without known COVID-19 infections or if we interpret the signal strength as meaning there are more infections than we know about.

With unexpected wastewater results, public health will take actions, which include recommending testing of those who recently travelled into the community to identify people with COVID-19.

Attribution

All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.