All Yellowknife schools closed starting on May 3 as the COVID-19 outbreak at N.J. Macpherson continued to spread.
In an update on May 3, chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said the outbreak had spread to include eight cases, with an additional 12 probable cases, of which nine have already been confirmed with ID NOW testing.
All Yellowknife schools, including in Dettah and Ndilǫ̨ are closed and remote learning options will be made available.
The school closure measures reflect a verbal order made by the chief public health officer according to section 29 of the Public Health Act.
Wearing a mask while indoors became mandatory Monday morning, May 3.
Public exposure risks
There are several public exposure risks in the city and each calls for specific response actions.
Anyone who attended a birthday party at the Multiplex DND gym on May 1 between 1 and 3 p.m. must isolate immediately as a contact of COVID-19 for 14 days. Those individuals must also contact Public Health to disclose they attended a birthday party with an exposure.
Anyone who was on the Route 2 school bus from April 26 to 29 in the morning or afternoon must isolate immediately as a contact for COVID-19 for 14 days.
With the Route 12 school bus, anyone who on the bus between April 29 and 30 in the morning or afternoon must isolate immediately for 14 days.
Anyone who was at Sushi North on April 30 between 6 and 6:30 p.m. should self-monitor and aren’t required to self-isolate unless they have symptoms.
Anyone who was at Walmart on May 1 between 12 and 12:30 p.m. should self-monitor and are not required to self-isolate unless they have symptoms.
The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) continues its investigation and management of the N.J. Macpherson school outbreak.
For people isolating as a result of the N.J. Macpherson outbreak all students, staff and volunteers attending during the exposure week of April 26-30 are now considered close contacts. There have been multiple exposures at each grade level in the school.
The OCPHO is not declaring a community outbreak in Yellowknife at present. That type of outbreak occurs when there are one or more cases of COVID-19 in a community with no exposure chains clearly identified.
The new confirmed cases over the weekend are connected and considered a cluster.
Other changes and recommendations
Daycare and day homes can remain open, except for those impacted by school closures or those that have received public health direction to close, said COVID-19 Secretariat spokesperson Darren Campbell.
All organized extracurricular activities, clubs and sports for those under 18 shall are cancelled (including those unrelated to schools).
Non-essential travel in and out of Yellowknife, Ndilǫ̨ and Dettah should be deferred until further notice.
Remote work is highly encouraged for any employees who are able to do so.