UPDATED: Wastewater traces of COVID-19 in Hay River may stem from Fort Liard case

This is the first time wastewater sampling has detected unreported traces of COVID-19 in Hay River. (Supplied by Pexels.)
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Update 10:19 a.m. Monday Jan 18: The traces of COVID-19 found in wastewater sampling conducted in Hay River may stem from the individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in Fort Liard.

The initial COVID-19 case reported in Fort Liard, was as a result of travel outside the territory.

NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, said that person had completed their self-isolation in Hay River.

As of Sunday afternoon, around 150 individuals had come forward to be tested for COVID-19.

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Kandola confirmed no cases have been identified in Hay River so far.

Wastewater samples from January 1 to 6 in Hay River have detected traces of COVID-19.

Since there have been no COVID-19 cases reported in the community around that timeframe, it is suspected there are unreported cases of COVID-19.

A statement from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer says “it is possible that this signal is from one or more individuals who have travelled and who are now appropriately self-isolating or even left the territory.”

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The statement adds there is not enough evidence to assess public risk, but there may be cases of transmission.

“If between January 1 to January 6, you were in Hay River or K’atlo’deeche First Nation (KFN) and at any stage of your self-isolation because you entered the NWT from another jurisdiction, you should get tested now even if you don’t have symptoms,” Dr. Andy Delli-Pizzi, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories, said in a statement.

Regular collection of wastewater from Hay River began in late December 2020.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer sends samples to to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg weekly.

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The lab analyzes the samples to determine if COVID-19 is present or absent, and returns the results.

Essential workers who received an exemption form self-isolating should also get tested.

Testing is available at the Old Medical Clinic at 52 Woodland Drive during the following dates at times:
– January 13: 4:00pm – 8:00pm
– January 14: 8:00am – 8:00pm
– January 15: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Residents who are seeking to get tested should call public health at 867-874-8400 to book an appointment.

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