Two probable Covid-19 infections have been identified in Fort Liard, in addition to the three cases announced on Saturday, said NWT chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola in a Monday night news release.
Those two individuals are isolating and doing well, Kandola said.
The two probable Fort Liard cases were identified using point-of-care rapid tests out of the 60 tests conducted by the rapid response team in the Dehcho community on Monday. Point-of-care tests are verified by further testing at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife.
The three latest confirmed cases in Fort Liard bring to 28 the total number of coronavirus infections in the NWT.
“Probable cases are treated the same as confirmed cases in an investigation,” Kandola said, although the same principle doesn’t apply for the territory’s Covid case count. “Contact tracing and isolation begins immediately while the samples are confirmed.”
Forty-five contacts related to the initial cases in Fort Liard are currently isolating.
All diagnoses are in the same cluster, originally connected to out-of-territory travel.
Kandola is seeking the public’s assistance in tracking down the source of the Fort Liard infection and preventing further spread.
“No matter where you are in the NWT, it is more important than ever for you to get tested for Covid-19 at the first sign of any symptoms. This will help identify new cases, new contacts who should be isolated, and prevent additional transmission,” she said.
An investigation is ongoing into the Yellowknife Covid-19 case identified on Friday that has no known origin, though Kandola said it is highly likely the source has passed their communicable period.
The rapid response team has been at Aven Manor testing staff and select residents based on suspicion the case was connected to the long-term care home.
“To be clear – there is no identified exposure risk. This is part of a reverse contact-tracing exercise to cast a wide net in an effort to identify the source of infection,” Kandola said.
No new positive coronavirus cases have been identified.
Monitoring for other cases will continue through wastewater analysis, symptomatic case testing and targeted asymptomatic screening.
Since Jan. 11, 189 individuals have come forward for Covid-19 testing in Hay River.
Public health has assessed there is a high-probability that the positive wastewater signal in Hay River was connected to the cluster of Covid infections in Fort Liard, as Kandola told reporters in a Sunday news conference.
Wastewater surveillance will continue in Hay River.
Individuals who feel sick and want to get tested should call their local health centre.
NWT residents can call 8-1-1 for information on the lockdown rules in Fort Liard, Covid-19 or for the latest updates.