N.W.T. confirms 2 new cases of COVID-19, issues exposure warning for Air Canada flight

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Health officials say they've diagnosed two new cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories, according to a release sent Friday afternoon.

One is located in Yellowknife, while the other is a non-resident worker at the territory's Gahcho Kué mine, located 280 kilometres northwest of the capital.

According to the territory's website, the new cases bring the territory's total cases since March to 24, with nine still active.

The release says both individuals are "self-isolating and both are doing well." There is believed to be a "low risk of further transmission."

But according to the release, the Yellowknife resident travelled this Wednesday from Edmonton to Yellowknife on board an Air Canada flight while infectious.

Health officials are contacting those seated in rows 14 to 20 of flight AC8225 on Dec. 16 to arrange for testing. Those who haven't received a call are asked to continue self-isolating and contact their local health centre.

The release says the person at Gahcho Kué had contact with 14 individuals at the mine site, but had no contact with N.W.T. communities, having travelled directly from the south to work at the mine.

"Public health worked with the medical team at Gahcho Kué to get individuals on-site isolated upon case identification," the release reads.

"The risk of further transmission at the worksite is assessed to be very low."

The release says that while new cases are appearing "regularly" in the territory, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the N.W.T. are working.

"As holiday gathering season begins, keeping gatherings small is a way for you and yours to take some control over transmission risk," it continues.

Health authorities are advising that private festivities be limited to five visitors per household, and that no more than 25 are permitted at indoor public events.

"With risk across Canada at its highest level since the pandemic began, taking these steps are a way you can limit risk to your families, friends, and communities this holiday season," the release concludes.