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COVID-19 community transmission found in Inuvik, N.W.T.

·2 min read
Downtown Inuvik was nearly free of traffic Friday as the territory's chief public health officer announced COVID-19 is now circulating in the community. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC - image credit)
Downtown Inuvik was nearly free of traffic Friday as the territory's chief public health officer announced COVID-19 is now circulating in the community. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC - image credit)

There is evidence of early community transmission of COVID-19 in Inuvik, according to the N.W.T.'s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO).

In a Friday news release, the OCPHO said some people in the community have tested positive for COVID-19 "with no clear identifiable path of transmission."

"[It] means the positive diagnosis cannot be linked to other COVID-19 infections or cluster of infections," the release states.

It also said the cases are occurring in people from different demographic groups and aren't limited to the underhoused population.

In its most recent daily update on Thursday, the OCPHO said there were six cases in the community. Two days earlier, it had declared an outbreak in the community's homeless shelter, saying it had confirmed three COVID-19 cases in people who were present at the shelter and both warming shelters.

On Oct. 1, one case of COVID-19 was reported in the community after Aurora College posted an exposure notice at the college. It was the first case the community had seen in weeks.

The OCPHO said the current situation is similar to what happened at the beginning of the Yellowknife outbreak "that grew in size and risk to the point that additional public health measures were implemented."

The OCPHO issued strict gathering limits in the Yellowknife area to try and contain the spread of COVID-19, including limiting all indoor gatherings to 10.

Meanwhile, in Inuvik, it's advising all of the town's residents to:

  • Keep your circle of contacts small.

  • Avoid gathering in large numbers.

  • Wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

  • Wash your hands frequently.

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick or even a little unwell.

  • Remain vigilant about your own personal risk mitigation measures.

In a separate news release, the territory's health and social services authority said it's a time for caution, not panic.

It urged residents to seek testing if:

  • They are contacted by public health and are asked to get tested.

  • They any COVID-19 symptoms.

It said testing will be available in Invuik this weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the public health location at 66 Franklin Rd.

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