Effective immediately, the NWT’s chief public health officer (CPHO) is issuing new testing guidelines for those who receive a positive rapid antigen test.

Take-home tests — provided at airports, schools, and through the DetectNWT program — will become available at health centres as soon as possible.

They’re also available for those who meet eligibility at the testing clinic in Yellowknife.

Due to preparations for a large influx of returning travellers, testing centres must focus laboratory resources on highest-risk individuals and will no longer confirm most at-home positive tests.

Fully-vaccinated individuals who receive a positive result from an at-home test will not need to repeat testing at a testing centre if they’re low risk for severe outcomes and have mild, non-serious symptoms. In those instances, isolation is required for 10 days, along with household members and other close contacts.

Following a positive test from an at-home kit, ProtectNWT must be called to report the result.

ProtectNWT is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week by calling 811 (within NWT) and 1-833-378- 8297 (outside NWT) and by email: protectnwt@gov.nt.ca.

For those not fully vaccinated, a negative Day 8 test is required — administered by a healthcare provider — to end self-isolation after travel.

Contact public health or your health centre to arrange for testing.

A list of criteria below defines higher-risk individuals. A positive at-home test for those individuals means they must isolate immediately and contact public health or a health centre to arrange for testing and/or further assessment.

Some with risk factors may be eligible for certain targeted treatments, only once they have had a confirmed positive Covid-19 test from a testing centre.

Higher-risk groups include those not fully vaccinated (less than two doses of vaccine); younger than five-years-old; older than 60 years old, who have had an organ transplant; who are pregnant; who are diabetic; and taking immune-suppressing drugs.

Others considered higher risk are:

-undergoing cancer treatment

-taking heart or lung disease medicine daily

-diagnosed with severe kidney or liver disease

-suffering from dementia or have had a stroke

-obese (body mass index more than 40)

All new Covid-19 cases in the NWT are now considered to be a result of the Omicron variant.

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