(Yellowknife, December 24, 2021) – Testing and contact notification capacity in Yellowknife is currently limited. There is high demand for testing due to an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and exposures. This is likely due to a higher number of contacts and exposures due to the nature of the holiday season. This is also increasing the time it takes for public health staff to notify contacts of their exposures to positive cases.
Please remember as you go about your holiday revelry: this is the second Christmas that many health and social services front-line workers have had to forgo their own time with family and friends to provide services related to COVID-19. This is on top of the regular services that continue 24/7 within the operations of the health and social services system. Your actions can help limit spread of COVID-19.
Additional capacity was added at the Yellowknife testing site beginning on December 26, however available appointments remain limited. For the latest details on testing hours of operation visit www.nthssa.ca/covid-testing. The testing site will be closed Christmas Day and New Years Day. At this time testing is by appointment only, walk-ins will be accepted again starting December 29th. You can book online.
Testing capacity is reserved for:
- People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Isolation exit testing as identified in your Self-Isolation Plan
- Essential worker testing
- Those who have been provided guidance from public health to get tested
Please note, testing is not always required for those who were identified as part of public exposure notifications. We encourage everyone to review the exposure notifications web page and follow the guidance included for each exposure site. If you were at an exposure site, and testing is not required, you should pay attention for any symptoms and get tested if any symptoms develop.
By ensuring we retain testing capacity for these priority areas we will be able to ensure we best protect public health with the limited resources we do have. Please do not present for testing if you do not fit into the criteria above. You may be asked to reschedule if you do not meet the above priorities.
Case Contact Investigations and Notification
With the number of contacts being identified by each positive case, notifying individual contacts who were exposed is being delayed up to three days from the completion of the case investigation. This means if you were a contact of a positive covid case, it may take up to 3 days to hear from public health about your exposure.
To mitigate this, Public Health is asking positive cases to assist in notifying their close contacts. If you are notified by someone that you were a close contact please isolate, assess yourself for symptoms, and await guidance from public health regarding testing. Again, do not present to the testing site unless you have symptoms or you have received guidance to do so.
What can residents do to help?
If you are symptomatic get tested. If you are travelling to the NWT limit your contacts for the first 72 hours. If you received rapid tests, use them on arrival and after 72 hours and isolate if you get a positive result. If you have a positive result you must isolate until you are tested and assessed at a testing site. Finally: all residents can assist by following healthy habits, wearing a mask, limiting contacts, staying home if you have any symptoms at all, and getting vaccinated if they have not yet done so.