Omicron variant confirmed in N.W.T.

·1 min read
Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief medical officer of health, addresses reporters in the legislative assembly Monday, May 3. In a press release issued on Sunday, Dr. Kandola announced the presence of the Omicron variant in the N.W.T. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief medical officer of health, addresses reporters in the legislative assembly Monday, May 3. In a press release issued on Sunday, Dr. Kandola announced the presence of the Omicron variant in the N.W.T. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)

The "highly contagious" Omicron variant is confirmed to be in the N.W.T., public health officials announced in a press release on Sunday afternoon.

An earlier exposure notice has been updated as a result of the confirmed variant.

The exposure notice was for passengers in rows 16 to 22 on the Dec. 13 WestJet flight WS3359 from Calgary to Yellowknife and passengers in rows 23 to 29 on the Dec. 13 WestJet WS280 between Kelowna and Calgary.

Initial guidance said only unvaccinated passengers would need to self-isolate, but in the press release the chief public health officer announced these guidelines have been changed to include everyone in the affected rows no matter their vaccination status.

"The appearance of the Omicron variant in the N.W.T. is not a surprise. What we currently know about the Omicron variant is that is highly transmissible. We must ensure people are supported to isolate at home as much as possible in community settings," the press release reads.

Anyone in the affected rows must arrange for a test on day four of their isolation and can leave isolation if they test negative on day eight. If not, they must remain in isolation with no symptoms until day 10.

The press release says it is expected that the Omicron variant will soon become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the N.W.T.

The territorial chief public health officer is also recommending that residents returning from travel outside of the N.W.T. monitor symptoms and avoid gatherings for three days.

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