Update: Yellowknife Presumptive Positive Tests Confirmed

News Type: 
Public Service Announcement

No indication of further transmission.


YELLOWKNIFE (October 21, 2020) – The presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 in Yellowknife have been confirmed. The individuals continue to isolate appropriately at-home.

We thank the individuals for their diligence, for taking the right steps upon diagnosis, and for their cooperation in the investigation. And most importantly, we wish them well as they recover.

Public health isolated one identified contact.

Public health has followed up on a list of more than 50 potential contacts provided by Anytime  Fitness.

Upon investigation by public health, a number of the individuals on the list were not present at the gym at the date and time identified in the exposure notification. More than 20 have been provided the appropriate isolation advice and verification of the list continues.

Most people develop symptoms of COVID-19 within the first week. We are today nine days past the exposure period at Anytime Fitness. The chances are very high that we would have had patients presenting with symptoms already, which is a promising sign.

However, we are requesting all contacts to be tested on day 10, October 22, for added assurance whether they have symptoms or not. These tests will be completed on short-order.

Situation manageable, but monitoring will continue

There is not currently any indication of further transmission.

However, it is necessary to continue monitoring the situation to be sure.

Since we cannot guarantee whether we have been able to reach all contacts, the exposure notification associated with these positive results will remain active until at least 14 days after the dates and times listed for each location.

This is because until the full 14 day incubation period of COVID-19 has passed, it is not possible to definitively conclude that there was no transmission associated with the two potential exposure locations.

We believe there may still be an outstanding potential contact from the RCMP public waiting area. We urge anyone who was in this location at the identified date and time to contact Yellowknife Public Health at 867-767-9120 and isolate immediately.

And we continue to ask that anyone who may have been present at either of the potential exposure locations are asked to isolate immediately at-home and contact the Yellowknife Public Health unit.

Public health will continue to monitor the situation with strong surveillance.

A note on presumptive positive tests

It is important to remember that all presumptive positive tests are treated as though they are confirmed.

Because of expanded rapid-testing capacity for COVID-19, public health was able to move quickly to take all necessary steps to contact people and ensure they isolate, and provide advice needed to keep communities safe.

A Reminder: Stigma is Never OK

Stigma makes us all less safe by creating more fear or anger toward individuals instead of focusing on doing our part to manage the virus appropriately. Examples of stigmatizing behaviour include:

  • Lashing out online
  • Spreading rumours about people
  • Attempting to identify someone who has contracted a communicable disease like COVID-19

Stigma can also make people more likely to hide symptoms or illness, keep them from seeking health care immediately, and prevent individuals from adopting healthy behaviors. This means that stigma can make it more difficult to control the spread of a virus like COVID-19.

People who experience stigma may also experience discrimination. This discrimination can take the form of:

  • Other people avoiding or rejecting them
  • Getting denied education, housing, or employment
  • Verbal abuse
  •  Physical violence

When people contract a communicable disease, it is a stressful time. We would ask you put yourself in their shoes, consider how you would hope to be treated if you were in the same situation, and consider these potential consequences when thinking about adding your voice to conversations.

Lashing out at others does not keep anyone safer. Channeling the anxiety you feel about the pandemic into productive behaviours -- like taking precautions and encouraging others to do the same -- will help protect everyone.

Stay Vigilant

It is important everyone in the Northwest Territories, no matter your situation, is self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, staying home when they feel ill even with mild symptoms, and calling their local healthcare provider to be assessed for COVID-19.

These are simple, but crucial ways to help our territory prevent transmission, identify cases early, and respond quickly.

Taking basic steps in our day-to-day lives also limits opportunities for transmission. This includes:

  • Prioritizing physical distance of at least six feet, or two metres
  • Wearing a non-medical mask when keeping distance is difficult
  • Ensuring smaller crowds and larger spaces are the norm
  • Frequently washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer
  • Being a responsible isolator whenever you’re required

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