'Lots of worried parents' as Behchokǫ̀ grapples with early stages of COVID-19 community transmission

·2 min read
Chief Clifford Daniels said parents are worried for their children after the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer reported early signs of community transmission of COVID-19 in Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T., on Wednesday. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC - image credit)
Chief Clifford Daniels said parents are worried for their children after the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer reported early signs of community transmission of COVID-19 in Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T., on Wednesday. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC - image credit)

With Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T., showing signs of community transmission of COVID-19, the community's chief says members are especially worried for young people.

Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels said the current spate of probable and confirmed cases is affecting children, some of whom may be too young to be eligible to get the vaccine.

"So lots of worried parents out there right now," he said.

On Wednesday evening the Northwest Territories' chief public health officer reported 12 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Behchokǫ̀, which has a population of about 1,983. The cases are in "multiple households with no clear chain of transmission," said Dr. Kami Kandola.

Containment order issued

In an effort to stem the spread, Kandola issued a containment order for the community, effective 8 a.m. Thursday.

The order requires all non-essential businesses to close, schools to revert to remote learning, and indoor and outdoor gatherings to be restricted to household members only. Essential services are still open.

Students and staff have been told to stay home from Elizabeth Mackenzie School and Chief Jimmy Bruneau School while recent cases of the virus are investigated, reads a notice from the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency posted on Facebook.

Daniels said the extent of the spread in Behchokǫ̀ is unclear.

"Yesterday I heard [there are] possibly about 150 contacts that they will be tracing," he said.

The chief is encouraging residents to stay home, and get tested if they may have been exposed to a case.

He also said check stops were set up to give people coming into the community information about the COVID-19 situation.

"The parents are the ones that are really worried for the children, so hopefully the community comes together and we'll get through this," said Daniels.

Behchokǫ̀ residents can get tested and vaccinated Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sportsplex.

The Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency says people should get tested if they have symptoms, if they are returning from out-of-territory travel, or if Public Health has identified them as a contact of a recent COVID-19 case.

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