4 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Tuktoyaktuk, no evidence of community spread

·2 min read
A file photo of Tuktoyaktuk. Mangilaluk School and other facilities in Tuktoyaktuk are closed Monday due to four COVID-19 cases in the community. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada - image credit)
A file photo of Tuktoyaktuk. Mangilaluk School and other facilities in Tuktoyaktuk are closed Monday due to four COVID-19 cases in the community. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada - image credit)

There are four positive cases of COVID-19 in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., according to a Monday afternoon news release from the N.W.T.'s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

All four cases ""are currently identified as a cluster and all are isolating safely" and there is no evidence of community spread, the release states.

"The appropriate responses are in place and residents are encouraged to take positive actions to control their risks."

The OCPHO also issued three public exposure notices in the community, at Mangilaluk School, the Jackie Jacobsen Youth Centre and the Kitti Hall Community Centre.

The possibility of COVID-19 cases in the community began to circulate over the weekend with the hamlet acknowledging unconfirmed cases on its Facebook page Sunday, and urging residents to take precautions.

The hamlet — which has a population of about 1,000 and is about 150 km north of Inuvik — asked residents to limit their contacts by remaining in their homes and staying within their family bubbles.

A Nov. 7 letter from Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council superintendent Devin Roberts, also posted to the hamlet's Facebook page, said that Mangilaluk School will be temporarily closed for 10 days due to "COVID-19 exposure notifications."

A COVID-19 testing clinic was opened Monday at 1 p.m. at Kitti Hall, according to a poster from the territory's health authority, also shared by the hamlet on Facebook. The poster asks residents to dress appropriately for the cold in case they are asked to wait outside.

A number of buildings and services announced their closure during the outbreak including the Jacob Jacobson Youth Centre and the Tuktoyaktuk Housing Association Office. All Tuktoyaktuk community wellness programs have been cancelled until Nov. 18.

The hamlet's population is among the territory's least vaccinated, according to the territorial government's COVID dashboard. As of Oct. 30, 81 per cent of Tuktoyaktuk residents 12 and up had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 69 per cent were fully vaccinated. In nearby Inuvik, 79 per cent were fully vaccinated by that date. On average, 81 per cent of eligible people in the N.W.T. are fully vaccinated.

The OCPHO said Monday a rapid response team has been sent to the area by the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority to help, especially with testing capacity and contact tracing.

If any risks are identified during contact tracing, the OCPHO said in the release that "they will be communicated in a timely manner by ... directly contacting known individuals."

If the individuals are not known, the risks will be communicated through the government's COVID-19 public exposure notices page.

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