Two Individuals Diagnosed With COVID-19 in NWT

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One at Gahcho Kué, one in Yellowknife. Investigation reveals low risk of further transmission.


YELLOWKNIFE December 18, 2020 – Two individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the NWT.

One is a non-resident worker at Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine. One is a Yellowknife resident. Both are travel-related.

The patients are self-isolating and both are doing well.


Gahcho Kué

Public health worked with medical staff at the mine on an investigation which identified 14 contacts at the mine site.

The individual diagnosed travelled directly to the mine site from a southern province and did not have any contact with NWT communities.


The individual arrived after domestic travel outside the NWT.

The individual immediately self-isolated with their household as-required. There are no identified contacts outside the household.

The individual traveled on domestic air flights during the time they could transmit infection, including a flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife.

All other flights were from outside the NWT and there was no travel anywhere other than Yellowknife in the NWT.

Actions taken

Gahcho Kué

Public health worked with the medical team at Gahcho Kue to get individuals on-site isolated upon case identification. They will continue to monitor the situation as routine follow-up is completed throughout the isolation period.


The individual and their household were provided isolation advice. Public health worked with the airline to get flight manifests to follow-up with any passengers who may have been sitting in affected rows directly.

Public health also routinely notified the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding potential exposures during other flights in Canada.

Public/worksite risk

Gahcho Kué

There are no risks identified for any NWT communities. The risk of further transmission at the worksite is assessed to be very low.


Only those in the rows identified below may be considered to have an exposure risk. No one else on the airplane is at-risk of exposure.  

This is based on the expert assessment of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

  • Flight information Contact your local health centre or public health unit to arrange for COVID-19 testing.
    Airline Flight number Departing Destination Date Affected rows
    Air Canada AC8225 Edmonton Yellowknife December 16 14 to 20

What to do if you were in these rows and have not been contacted:

  • Continue to self-isolate at-home for 14 days after your arrival as-required.
  • Your household is also required to self-isolate with you if you are not in a self-contained unit.
  • For information on COVID-19 testing, click here.

As COVID risk grows, take control by shrinking gatherings

We are now regularly seeing new cases of COVID-19 in the NWT. So far, they have been contained because people are taking the right steps to keep communities safe.

But we can’t assume that every instance of COVID-19 will be contained. We need to look at our individual and collective behavior to make sure transmission is limited if COVID-19 is present in the community.

As holiday gathering season begins, keeping gatherings small is a way for you and yours to take some control over transmission risk.

COVID-19 moves quickly in crowds – no matter whether they’re traditional, religious, or family get-togethers. Any time there are a lot of people close together, there is a higher risk of transmission.

To prevent transmission, remember the guidance:

  • No more than five people you don’t live with at your house.
  • No more than 25 for organized indoor public gatherings.
  • No more than 50 outside – and remember, wall tents are indoors.
  • Keep physical distance of at least six feet, or two metres.
  • Bigger, more open spaces are always better.

With risk across Canada at its highest level since the pandemic began, taking these steps are a way you can limit risk to your families, friends, and communities this holiday season.


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

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