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Two probable cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed as positive in Fort Liard, chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said on Tuesday.

There are now five confirmed coronavirus cases in the Dehcho community, bringing to 30 the total number of Covid infections in the NWT.

The first three were confirmed on Saturday.

There are now five confirmed cases in the small community cluster of Covid-19 infections in Fort Liard, said chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Tuesday. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

All the positive diagnoses are part of the small community cluster and were originally connected to travel outside the territory.

No additional probable cases have been identified using rapid point-of-care tests since the last update, Kandola said.

Around 40 tests were conducted Tuesday in Fort Liard, for a total of about 100 since the rapid response team deployed there.

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Fifty contacts are currently isolating.

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As part of the contact tracing effort, Kandola said that many people who were contacts of Covid infections are being called and given advice by health workers.

“A contact is someone who public health believes could have spent 15 minutes or more with a person who got Covid-19 and was within six feet of them. That means just because you saw someone who had Covid-19 while walking around in town or passed them quickly in the store, you don’t have a lot to worry about,” she said.

“You can think of contact tracing as a circle where the confirmed Covid-19 case is in the middle. The next circle out is the ‘contacts,’ who public health has a good reason to believe may have been exposed. These people will need to isolate. But the next circle out is ‘contacts of contacts.’ At this point, you’re quite far away from the original source of infection, and there is usually a low risk of having been exposed to Covid-19 – especially in the NWT where there is no community transmission yet.”

Public health authorities will reach out to identified contacts to inform them they should be isolating to stop the spread of coronavirus.

People have no reason to worry if they haven’t been contacted by public health, spent time with someone who has Covid or been in a location at a time when there was an exposure notification.

Kandola reminded the public to stick to healthy habits like physical distancing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing.

The vaccination clinic in Fort Liard, scheduled for Thursday and Friday will proceed despite the Covid infections there, said territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg on Tuesday.

The clinic has also been extended by one day to allow more access for the 50 people currently isolating.

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