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YKDFN hand games tournament postponed until September

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation hands game tournament, which had been scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed to September 3 to 6.

In a post to Facebook, YKDFN says the move was made because of “recent new COVID cases and community exposure.”

The move comes after a similar event in Fort Good Hope became a super-spreader event, with 34 cases of COVID-19 so far being reported connected to the event.

Plans for the event were being reviewed with the Chief Environmental Health officer and decisions about what mitigating measures could be introduced were being made, according to NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola, who was answering media questions on Monday.

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“We always have flagged hand games as a high risk activity just by the nature of close contact and the nature of the activity,” said Kandola. “We we know that for the YK region, we have particularly high levels of vaccination, and not so much so for Tłı̨chǫ.”

YKDFN has made vaccinations mandatory for people participating in the games. There will also be a COVID-19 vaccination clinic being run during the tournament, on Aug. 19 between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and on Aug. 20 between 1 and 6 p.m.

Currently there are seven confirmed COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife with one probable case — all but one of those are connected to the traditional games tournament in Fort Good Hope.

YKDFN says registration forms must be sent by Sept. 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. so they can “plan effectively and accommodate everyone.”

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