New COVID-19 case in Fort Smith confirmed

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A case of COVID-19 has been identified in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

The person had travelled within Canada but outside the Northwest Territories, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said in a Thursday press release.

The person is isolating at home and "doing well," she said.

Kandola said a public health investigation found one contact who is also self-isolating, and no risks of exposure at public places or through air travel have been identified.

The case was discovered using the N.W.T.'s recently installed ID NOW rapid testing device, said Kandola. This machine provided an initial diagnosis in 15 minutes, which was then confirmed by the lab at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife.

Kandola reminded the public that COVID-19 transmission can occur when a person has mild symptoms, and is strongly encouraging people with any symptoms to arrange for a test as soon as their symptoms arise.

She said getting tested early is "a good way to control the risk of potential infection, and limit spread to family, friends and other community members."

Fort Smith reported five previous COVID-19 cases in November.

There have been 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories since the beginning of the pandemic. Fifteen of those have since recovered.