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CPHO says Yellowknife lockdown not currently necessary, outbreak ‘shouldn’t last long’

NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola says the outbreak of COVID-19 at N.J. Macpherson shouldn’t last long, saying that public health measures should manage the situation.

While Kandola said Yellowknife “was on the brink of community spread” and the contract tracing  investigation was ongoing, she said a complete lockdown of Yellowknife was not currently necessary. 

This is because the NWT is in a much better place than this time last year, Kandola said, when non-essential services and businesses were shut down.

Kandola added that the school shut down should be enough to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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“We’re just testing isolating cases and contact tracing at this point and the faster we do it, the better we can bring this under control,” she said in a press conference on Monday. “This is not going to go on for weeks.”

Schools weren’t closed earlier because the situation was different from the exposure risk earlier in April at St. Patrick’s School, said Kandola. Students and staff at N.J. Macpherson who may have been infectious with COVID-19 had transmitted the virus, triggering the declaration of an outbreak.

The case at St. Patrick’s only involved an exposure risk from the individual who had been infected with the virus. Kandola added there’s no connection between the exposure risk at St. Patrick’s and the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson.

“What we do know is that we were able to pick this cluster infection pretty quickly, we were able to shut down N.J. and have all the households isolate,” she said. 

Kandola added no other school in Yellowknife has currently met the definition of an outbreak.

Currently there are 8 active cases in the NWT, all of them in Yellowknife.

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