COVID-19 outbreak declared at N.W.T. Legislative Assembly after 6 test positive, new exposures identified

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Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer, announced on Sunday there are six confirmed and two probable COVID-19 cases involving people who were at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly building in Yellowknife last week. (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer, announced on Sunday there are six confirmed and two probable COVID-19 cases involving people who were at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly building in Yellowknife last week. (Sara Minogue/CBC - image credit)

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife, while outbreaks at six other workplaces in the territory continue, according to the territory's chief public health officer.

Dr. Kami Kandola said there are six confirmed cases and two probable cases in people who were in the territorial government building last week.

Those individuals were at the Legislative Assembly Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., said a statement from Dr. Kandola's office that was issued early Sunday afternoon.

"If you attended the legislature building on any of the dates identified, and you have not yet received communication from Yellowknife Public Health, please isolate immediately and arrange for testing," it stated.

On Friday, a public inquiry examining whether or not MLA Steve Norn breached his code of conduct by breaking his mandatory self-isolation period, and making inaccurate statements to the press about it, was cut short because a positive case had been detected in the legislature building.

Though the inquiry is being carried out virtually, the court clerk, technical team and interpreter were present in the legislature and were sent home to isolate and arrange for testing.

Ongoing workplace outbreaks

In her statement, Dr. Kandola also identified six other workplaces where there are ongoing outbreaks. They are at the Aven Manor long-term care facility, RTL/Giant Mine, the Tłı̨chǫ all-season road project, Chateau Nova Hotel, Homebase Yellowknife Youth Centre and Precious Reio Day Home.

A workplace outbreak is declared when more than one person has COVID-19 at the site.

Sara Minogue/CBC
Sara Minogue/CBC

Dr. Kandola also said there have been repeated public exposures at the Vital Abel House, both Independent grocery stores, the Yellowknife Co-op and Walmart over the past few weeks.

"These locations continue to be monitored for signs of outbreaks and the OCPHO [Office of the Chief Public Health Officer] will work with management to implement additional precautions as necessary."

More exposure notices

Public health also issued five new COVID-19 exposure notices Sunday afternoon.

A pair of notices were issued for Canadian North flights on Oct. 6. One is for rows seven to 13 on flight 614, which departed Hay River for Yellowknife at 1:50 p.m. The other is for rows 14 to 20 on flight 245, which departed Yellowknife for Edmonton at 5:25 p.m.

The three other notices are all for locations in Yellowknife. Public health says there was an exposure at the Driver and Vehicle Services Office on Oct. 7 from 8:40 a.m. to 9 a.m., at Starbucks on Oct. 6 from 2 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., and at the New Dimensions hair salon on Oct. 6 from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Public health has not updated its COVID-19 dashboard since Friday. At the time, there were 456 active COVID-19 cases in the territory — 281 of which are in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ.

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