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HomeNewsNWT NewsSource of Fort Good Hope COVID-19 cases unknown, likely delta variant

Source of Fort Good Hope COVID-19 cases unknown, likely delta variant

The territorial government doesn’t know where the initial COVID-19 case at the hand games tournament in Fort Good Hope came into contact with the virus, according to NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola.

Kandola said contact tracing was ongoing but the individual that was the source of the initial case had not travelled outside the territory. 

Testing of the results is also still happening in laboratories in Alberta, but Kandola said it is likely the cases are instances of the delta variant, with around 90 per cent of the current COVID-19 cases in Canada the delta variant.

“Because of the close connections, we consider everyone in Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake as exposed to COVID-19,” she said. “Everyone exposed is at risk of developing COVID-19 but those who are unvaccinated are at a much higher risk.”

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The Sahtu region has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the territory, with Colville Lake having the lowest of any community in the NWT, with only 19 per cent of people fully vaccinated.

Kandola added the number of probable cases connected to the hand games tournament has increased and that there’s definitely evidence of community spread in Fort Good Hope.

There are now 23 COVID-19 infections, including one confirmed case and fifteen probable cases in Fort Good Hope. That’s up from five probable cases in the community as of yesterday.

The traditional games tournament held from August 5 to 9 in Fort Good Hope had been identified as a COVID-19 exposure location by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

To try and stem the spread of the virus, the GNWT issued a public containment order in Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake to try and contain the spread of the virus.

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This means anyone who was in the two communities between August 5 and 15 that aren’t fully vaccinated has to self-isolate for 10 days starting August 15 and arrange for testing. Those who are fully vaccinated have to self-monitor for symptoms and arrange for testing if they see any.

Two cases have been transported outside of the community, but no one connected to the outbreak has been hospitalized. Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, Chief Medical Doctor for the NWT says the two individuals were taken to Stanton Hospital for further tests and are now isolating in Yellowknife.

“In most cases, it’s better for people to stay in their homes, people do better in their homes, they’re in a familiar environment, we’re able to provide them with supports for people with minor or non serious illness,” she said.

Pegg said the GWNT was looking at arranging travel to move some at-risk individuals out of their communities. That would happen in consultation with community leadership.

“We do have a limited number of resources that are involved in [medevac services] and the best time to transport someone is before they can become quite sick,” she said. “That’s also the job of our team on the ground who has been conducting active surveillance of the cases that have been identified as positive to assess for any deterioration in their condition.”

Kandola added there likely won’t be an outright travel ban implemented because healthcare workers and supplies like food will still need to be sent to the communities.

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