Two recent cases of Covid-19 are believed to be variants of concern, according to a statement issued by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer on April 8.
Variants are more infectious strains of the Covid-19 virus and have been increasing across the country, according to the release. They typically have the same symptoms as those caused by a non-variant strain of the virus, including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, or other symptoms.
According to the release, results from the Alberta Precision Laboratories say that the April 3 out-of-territory case from Diavik and the April 5 NWT resident case related to international travel are the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom.
“The individuals and identified contacts are currently self-isolating and doing well,” states the release.
Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said her office is working closely with the Diavik to address that case.
“The company will test all employees at the mine site and continue to work with Public Health officials to mitigate transmission risk,” states the release. “The OCPHO is also working with Diavik to safely return NWT and out-of-territory workers home.”
The release states that workers onsite were assessed as being at low risk of any exposure and have already left to worksite to return home.
“Many others will be returning home in the next few days as long as the situation remains unchanged,” the release states.
Routine monitoring and follow-up will continue with the individuals and contacts. Medical staff continue to monitor and assess all worksite employees per standard COVID safety protocols.
As for the Yellowknife case, the release states that the OCPHO is aware that the individual caught the infection outside the NWT.
The virus was not communicable during air travel.
“Existing federal and NWT processes were followed, including COVID-19 testing at the time of arrival in Canada,” the release states.
During contact tracing, three contacts were identified and the individual and contacts are self-isolating and doing well.
Currently there is no public risk due to the infections.
“The introduction of a Variant of Concern into the NWT is a new development in the pandemic, and we must be vigilant in our response to this,” states the release.
“Monitoring and investigation will continue per public health communicable disease protocols to mitigate any transmission risk.”