Update on COVID-19 outbreak investigation in Yellowknife; closure of Behchokǫ̀ schools

News Type: 
Advisories

NOTICE: The information in this release is no longer up to date. For the latest Public Exposure Notification please click here. For the latest testing and case numbers, visit the COVID-19 Dashboard.

YELLOWKNIFE - May 3, 2021 (12:00pm) – The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) been notified of additional cases of COVID-19 related to the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School declared on May 1, 2021. 

As of midday on May 3, there were a total of 14 individuals with confirmed COVID-19 and an additional six probable cases. Testing is ongoing and the OCPHO is awaiting lab confirmation.

Restrictions in Behchokǫ̀

More than 1000 individuals have been specifically identified as close contacts of the N.J. Macpherson cases. Therefore, the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency has closed two schools in Behchokǫ̀. The closures are out of concern that student and staff from Behchokǫ̀ had attended group events in Yellowknife over the weekend, such as a multi-school soccer tournament.

Mandatory masking has also been introduced in Behchokǫ̀ as well as the cancellation of all organized activities, such as sports groups for those under 18.

See Guidance for COVID-19 Contacts

Please note that N. J. Macpherson has been identified as an exposed outbreak facility. Everyone needs to isolate. Public Health is actively reaching out to inform those identified as close contacts. A letter will also be sent to close contacts from school administration.

Current Restrictions

  • A public health order was issued May 2, 2021 to include the closure of all Yellowknife schools, including those in Dettah and Ndilǫ. 
  • The implementation of mandatory indoor masking in the City of Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ is in effect as of 8 a.m. this morning.
  • An update to the mandatory indoor masking order will now include Behchokǫ̀.

Public Exposure Risks - Close Contacts

There are currently multiple exposure locations in Yellowknife. Please pay close attention to the required actions if you or any of your household members were at the following locations during the following times.

Location/Event Dates/Times Required actions
FirstGroup School Bus #2 April 26, 27, 28 & 29 AM & PM Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
FirstGroup School Bus #12

April 29 & 30

AM & PM

Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
FirstGroup School Bus # 6

April 28 & 29

AM & PM

Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
FirstGroup School Bus #8

April 28, 29 & 30

AM & PM

Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
NJ Macpherson School - all classes April 26 - 30 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
NJ Macpherson School - YWCA After school program April 26 - 30 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
NJ Macpherson School - Montessori Casa Program and Montessori After School Program April 26 - 30 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Stanley Boxing & Fitness May 1 – 9:00-10:00 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
DND Multiplex Gym - Birthday party May 1 – 13:00 -15:00 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Field House - soccer, dressing room 7 May 1 – 9:00 - 10:15 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Field House - soccer, dressing room 4, left field (Orange Tiger team) May 1 – 11:45 – 13:00 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Bella Dance Academy – jazz class April 28 – 17:30-18:15 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Bella Dance Academy – Tap class April 29 – 19:00 -20:00 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Bella Dance Academy – Ballet class May 1 - 10:45-11:45 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
NUP Choir Class April 29 - 17:00 -18:45 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
École St. Joseph School - Grade 6 Affected classes only April 28-30 Letters have been sent to the affected classes indicated contacts to isolate 14 days and arrange testing.
École St. Joseph School - Technology class April 28-30 - 5-6:45 pm Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Sir John Franklin, Grade 10 Affected classes only April 30 Letters have been sent to the affected classes indicated contacts to isolate 14 days and arrange testing.
My World - Birthday party April 30 18:00-20:00 Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing
Soccer Tournament (SpringKickOffYK) Participants April 30 to May 1 at any time Isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days and arrange testing

Public Exposure Risk- Potential Contacts

Individuals affected by these exposures do not need to isolate. OCPHO recommends self-monitoring only. If symptoms develop, call public health to arrange for testing as soon as possible.

Location/Event Dates/Times Required actions
Quiznos Airport Road April 29-18 :15- 19 :15 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Walmart May 1- 12:00 – 12:30 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Sushi North April 30 – 18:00 to 18:30 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Book Cellar April 28 – 15:30-16:00 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Express city bus from St. Pats April 30 - 15:30 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Fatburger April 29 -17:30- 18:45pm Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Fieldhouse - Soccer practice May 1 - 9-10:15 am Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Rochdi's Independent April 30 14:00-14:45 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Route B City Bus April 30 11:20 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Rochdi's Independent April 30 14:00-14:45 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Overlander

April 29 17:30-18:00

April 30 16:48-17:21
Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Sutherlands May 1 11:20-11:45 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Tundra Transfer May 1 12:00-12:15 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic
Luluz April 30 10:00-10:30 Monitor. Get tested if symptomatic

Investigation Update

  • The OCPHO continues to investigate and manage the outbreak.
  • The OCPHO is not declaring a community-wide outbreak at this time and is still investigating transmission chains.
  • All of the confirmed and probable cases identified to date are connected to one large cluster, linked by time, location and common exposures.

Recommendations and advice

  • Non-essential travel in and out of Yellowknife, Dettah,Ndilǫ and Behchokǫ̀ should be suspended/deferred until further notice. Please continue to attend all necessary medical appointments.
  • Remote work is highly encouraged for any employees who are able at this time.

What else you can do

  • Keep gatherings small
    • Indoor household gatherings must be limited to no more than five visitors to a maximum of 10 people in the household at any given time.
  • Get vaccinated
  • Get tested only if you have symptoms or required by public health
  • Stick to healthy habits we know work to stop COVID-19 in its tracks, it will also help you take some control of your risk.
    • Self-isolate whenever required
    • Prioritize physical distancing of at least two metres
    • Wear non-medical masks in all public places
    • If you’re feeling even a little sick, stay home,
    • Call your health centre or public health unit at the first sign of any sickness to get tested for COVID-19
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Keep coughs and sneezes to yourself
    • Public health may issue additional local guidance when more data becomes available. There will be further updates as we learn more.
    • And, look for ways you can assist others in the community through your support. Be kind.

Attribution

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

Relevant links