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The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) has confirmed a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 in Hay River, and passengers on a couple of recent flights could have been exposed to the virus.

The infected individual had been tested for the virus after returning to the NWT from domestic travel, according to a Saturday news release.

The person is self-isolating since returning and is doing well, the OCPHO stated.

The GNWT is asking passengers in rows four to 10 on Canadian North flight No. 238 leaving Edmonton to Yellowknife on Dec. 4 to continue to self-isolate and contact public health at 767-9210 to arrange for testing.

The OCPHO is also calling for passengers travelling on Canadian North flight 608 from Yellowknife to Hay River on Dec. 4 to also contact public health for testing. The affected rows for that flight are those between seven and 13.

“Exposures on flights typically occur when people are travelling before they develop symptoms since there are measures in place to prevent people with symptoms from flying,” states the news release. “The Public Health Agency of Canada identifies that people seated three rows in front and three rows behind a person with Covid-19 could be contacts.”

The OCPHO says other passengers on the plane outside of the rows identified are not considered contacts but should continue following routine public health advice.

“All individuals on these flights would still be required to self-isolate upon arrival,” states the release. “Other contacts were limited. Public health has not identified any further public exposures.”

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is reaching out to passengers on a Dec. 4 Canadian North flight from Edmonton to Yellowknife after a case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Hay River, according to a news release issued on Dec. 12.
NNSL file photo

Actions taken

The news release states that the OCPHO has worked to identify all individuals potentially at risk on the flights in question.

There are also “a small number of additional contacts” which have been contacted and provided isolation advice.

“What all of our recent cases demonstrate is that the two most important pieces to keeping transmission low is responsible self-isolation and coming forward for testing,” states the news release. “Self-isolation after travelling outside the NWT will stop cases of Covid-19 from becoming outbreaks and keep our communities safe.”

The OCPHO states that when an individual sees the first signs of symptoms for Covid-19, it makes people safer to seek medical advice right away.

“It will keep your friends, family, and roommates safer by getting you the guidance to make informed choices about how to prevent transmission,” states the news release. “And it will keep your community stronger and healthier by helping public health professionals investigate contacts, get folks isolated and break any potential chains of infection.”

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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