First case of COVID-19 reported in Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories has reported its first case of COVID-19, according to a press release sent out on Saturday afternoon by the chief public health officer.

The person had travelled to British Columbia and Alberta, according to the release, and then returned home to Yellowknife.

The individual, and their household, self-isolated after the person developed mild symptoms three days after returning.

“The individual’s condition has improved and they are recovering at home,” states the news release.

Those who may have had contact with the person are being contacted to self-isolate immediately, according to the release. 

The release said that the public is being told of the location because it happened in Yellowknife, but should not expect to be notified in smaller communities. The population of the N.W.T. is roughly 44,904 people, according to the NWT Bureau of Statistics’ 2020 numbers.

The chief public health officer has “mandated an aggressive testing strategy” to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the territory, states the release. 

As of Saturday at 11 a.m., 299 people have been tested in the territory, according to the N.W.T. Health Department website.

Late Friday evening, the Northwest Territories chief public health officer announced plans to ban most travel into the territory in an effort to stall the arrival of the novel coronavirus. 

Dr. Kami Kandola intends to make an order on Saturday that will restrict “all travel” by land, air and port into the territory for non-residents. There will be limited exceptions, says the government, which includes N.W.T. residents and supply chain workers.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms can include: 

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Pneumonia in both lungs (which would be seen on a chest X-ray).

What should I do if I feel sick?

If you are under 50 years old and otherwise healthy, just stay home and take care of yourself. Definitely don’t go to hospital, says Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

The most important thing to do is to call ahead to your health care-provider when possible, whether you are going to see your primary care physician, a walk-in clinic, or an emergency department at a hospital.

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