Those who test positive for COVID-19 must now stay inside for the entirety of their mandatory isolation, chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Kami Kandola said in a virtual media briefing, Sept. 14.

Citing “widespread community transmission” and testing backlog, the OCPHO shared changes Health and Social Services Minister Julie Green hailed as “extraordinary.”

Those who test positive are to stay indoors and not have any indoor visitors for the entire time they are isolating.

Should they develop new symptoms or their symptoms get worse, they may call primary care or 911. It’s important to make sure to say they tested positive for COVID-19.

High volumes of COVID-19 assessments and the related demands on public health mean public health, contact tracing and other precautions can no longer be communicated quickly enough to be effective.

The CPHO acknowledged the difficulties parents, school staff and kids are facing as a result of the school closure in the Yellowknife area but said the decision was made to try to tread “the path of least harm.”

Though Yellowknife has one of the highest levels of vaccination in the territory, all kids under 12 are unvaccinated and that makes in-person learning too risky amid “widespread community transmission,” Kandola said.

“The fight is not over until schools and classrooms are safe, too.”

She stressed the importance of immediately self-isolating if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19.

A containment order is yet to be issued for Yellowknife but when asked about the likelihood one would be, the CPHO said “it’s hard to know.”

She said her office is keeping an eye on the numbers but that they can change very quickly and they’re hard to forecast.

For now, she’s asking people to “Stay home. Get assessed. Wear a mask.”

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