COVID-19 testing and contact tracing in Yellowknife are limited during the holidays, said N.W.T. health officials Friday.
The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority said in a news release that COVID-19 testing at the Yellowknife testing site is only available by appointment until Dec. 29, when walk-ins will be accepted again.
It added that testing capacity is reserved for people who have COVID-19 symptoms, are essential workers, have been told by a public health official to get tested, and for those who require 'isolation exit testing' according to their self-isolation plan.
"By ensuring we retain testing capacity for these priority areas we will be able to ensure we best protect public health with the limited resources we do have," stated the release.
The health authority also said the COVID-19 testing site in Yellowknife will be closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Tell your close contacts if you have COVID-19, officials ask
The health authority said it could take up to three days for contacts of people with COVID-19 to hear from public health about their exposure.
To help limit the spread of the disease, it's asking people who have COVID-19 to tell their close contacts.
"If you are notified by someone that you were a close contact please isolate, assess yourself for symptoms, and await guidance from public health regarding testing," states the release, adding contacts should not go to the COVID-19 testing site unless they have symptoms or have receive guidance from public health to do so.
Cases rise to 31 in N.W.T.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Northwest Territories rose by 5 Friday to reach 31, compared to 26 on Thursday.
Of those cases, 27 are in Yellowknife, an increase of six since Thursday, and four are in the Beaufort Delta region, one fewer than yesterday.
The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer said it will next report the number of cases in the territory on Dec. 29.