'COVID-19 safety net' campaign launched, exposure notice issued for Yellowknife school

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Territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, left, and N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola announced the launch of a campaign to help N.W.T. residents assess their level of COVID-19 risk depending on their activities, including traveling. (CBC - image credit)
Territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, left, and N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola announced the launch of a campaign to help N.W.T. residents assess their level of COVID-19 risk depending on their activities, including traveling. (CBC - image credit)

In a news release Wednesday evening, N.W.T. health officials said there had been a COVID-19 public exposure at Mildred Hall School in Yellowknife related to two individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

It said letters have already been sent to all parents and guardians of any child in affected classrooms, and they should follow the advice spelled out in the letter.

It added that if parents or guardians hadn't received a letter, it meant their child's class was not affected and should continue going to school.

It also said everyone at the school should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and isolate if any develop.

'COVID-19 safety net'

Wondering if you should travel this holiday season? In the N.W.T., there's a quiz for that.

The N.W.T. government launched a campaign in which it posted a series of quizzes on its COVID-19 website Wednesday.

Three of the quizzes assess a user's level of risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 as they travel, gather and do other activities, while the other two quizzes test knowledge of vaccines and healthy habits.

"We do know that at some point in the future, we will have to adjust to a time when individuals take responsibility for reducing their own personal risk, when public health restrictions are lifted," Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said during a news conference Wednesday.

She quickly added that there is no timeline for lifting the territory's public health emergency, and that "masking, gathering and isolation restrictions will not be going away this winter."

She said the quizzes emphasize the kinds of things people need to continue to keep in mind as they continue to assess the risk of COVID-19 in what they do every day, as the pandemic evolves.

She said the timing of the campaign has everything to do with the coming holiday season.

"Over the holidays, there's generally more travel, social gatherings and more time spent indoors throughout the winter, all prime for COVID-19 transmission," she said.

She said the quizzes help people develop the mindset to constantly assess the COVID-19 risk in everything they do.

Yellowknife vaccination clinic for 5 to 11 year olds 'busy'

The Yellowknife clinic where 5- to 11-year-olds can get vaccinated is busy, according to Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, the N.W.T. territorial medical director.

She said that although she doesn't have specific numbers, she said appointment uptake has been "really high" and that most people are showing up for their appointments.

She said vaccine clinics haven't opened in some communities in the territory yet, but that in those where they have opened, uptake has been "variable."

N.W.T. gov't vaccination policy comes into effect

The territorial government's COVID-19 vaccination policy came into effect Tuesday.

The policy says that every employee of the N.W.T. has to be fully vaccinated Nov. 30, "or adhere to PPE use and COVID-19 testing as directed by their department or agency."

In a separate news release Wednesday, the government said that on Tuesday, 81.2 per cent of employees had given their proof of vaccination to the government, and had it verified.

Of note, the government said only 48.2 per cent of those working at the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency had provided proof of vaccination.

In other government departments, the percentage of employees who provided proof of vaccination ranged from a low of 69.9 per cent at the Education Councils to a high of 97.2 at Municipal and Community Affairs.

Cases remain stable in N.W.T.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer said there are 18 COVID-19 cases in the N.W.T. Wednesday, the same as on Tuesday.

There are 17 cases in Tuktoyaktuk, one less than there was yesterday, and there is one case, a new one, in the Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ area. As for the apparent discrepancy between that number of reported cases in Yellowknife and the two cases identified at Mildred Hall, the reported cases are as of 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. The exposure notice for Mildred Hall came after that. More information may follow on Thursday.

Kandola repeated during the news conference that her office has no plan to extend the containment order in Tuktoyaktuk when it expires on Sunday.

The OCPHO said there were three new reported cases Wednesday.

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