CPHO confirms Omicron variant in NWT

Dr. Kami Kandola addresses reporters at the Legislative Assembly. (Photo by Luke Carroll/ CKLB Radio.)Dr. Kami Kandola addresses reporters at the Legislative Assembly in April 2021. (File photo/CKLB)

Dr. Kami Kandola, the NWT chief public health officer, has confirmed the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has entered the territory.

Kandola’s office sent a news release Sunday afternoon saying, “It is expected that the Omicron variant will soon become the dominant COVID-19 strain in the NWT.”

As such, public health is amending a previous exposure notification for two flights that recently entered the territory.

Westjet Flight WS280

Kelowna to Calgary

Rows 23 – 29

December 13

6:00 AM – 8:07 AM

All passengers in affected rows must isolate regardless of vaccination status for 10 days (or a negative Day 8 test) if no symptoms.

Arrange for laboratory testing on December 21, 2021. Follow the advice of public health on how to make an appointment.

Westjet Flight WS3359

Calgary to Yellowknife

Rows 16 – 22

December 13

11:29 AM – 2:03 PM

All passengers in affected rows must isolate regardless of vaccination status for 10 days (or a negative Day 8 test) if no symptoms.

Arrange for laboratory testing on December 21, 2021. Follow the advice of public health on how to make an appointment.

 

Public health officials are changing requirements for contacts of COVID-19 cases.

If you’ve come in contact with someone with COVID-19, you must isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status. You must also received lab tests on Day 4 after being exposed and Day 8. You may leave isolation on the eighth day with a negative test and are not symptomatic.

Residents that are isolating should try to stay away from others within the same household as much as possible.

“Most people will fully recover from COVID-19 at home,” reads the health advisory.

“The appearance of the Omicron variant in the NWT 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,” it adds.

Public health says the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant could potentially lead to overwhelming the health care system.

To minimize the spread of the variant, public health officials are asking residents returning from travel to limit contacts for the first 72 hours and be diligent in monitoring for symptoms.

They’re also asking anyone with symptoms to isolate and arrange for testing immediately.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com