Many Parents Worried as Behchokǫ̀ Struggles with Early Stages of COVID-19 Community Transmission

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With Behchokǫ̀, Northwest Territories, showing signs of community transmission of COVID-19, the community’s chief says members are especially worried for young persons.

Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels said the current spate of possible and confirmed cases is affecting kids, some of whom may be too young to be eligible to get the vaccine.

“So lots of worried parents out there right now,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, the N.W.T.’s chief public health officer confirmed 12 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Behchokǫ̀, which has a population of around 1,983. The cases are in “multiple households with no clear chain of transmission,” said Dr. Kami Kandola.

Containment order issued

In a move to curb the spread, Kandola issued a containment order for the community, effective 8 a.m. Thursday.

The order requires all non-essential businesses to close, schools to revert to remote learning, and indoor and outdoor gatherings to be limited to just household members. Essential services remain open.

Students and staff have been told to stay home from Elizabeth Mackenzie School and Chief Bruneau School whereas recent cases of the virus are investigated, reads a notice from the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency shared on Facebook.

Daniels said the extent of the spread in Behchokǫ̀ is not clear.

“Yesterday I heard [there are] possibly about 150 contacts that they will be tracing,” he said.

The chief medical officer is encouraging to stay home, and get tested if they may have been exposed to a case.

He additionally said check stops were set up to give persons coming into the community information regarding the COVID-19 situation.

“The parents are the ones that are really worried for the children, so hopefully the community comes together and we’ll get through this,” said Daniels.

Behchokǫ̀ residents can get tested and vaccinated Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sportplex.

The Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency says persons should get tested is they have symptoms, if they are coming back from out-of-region travel, or if Public Health has identified them as a contact of a recent COVID-19 case.

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