N.W.T. Infrastructure Minister Says She Was Potentially Exposed to COVID-19

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The N.W.T.’s Minister of Infrastructure Diane Archie says she was one of the passengers on board an inbound flight to Inuvik from Edmonton that had a passenger infected with COVID-19, and that she was sitting in one of the areas identified in an exposure notice.

Archie’s announcement on Tuesday evening follows a public health advisory released by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer on Monday regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Inuvik related to out-of-territory travel, and possible exposure on a Canadian North flight.

“Unfortunately I was on that flight and was seated in one of the affected rows, meaning I was potentially exposed to COVID-19,” Archie said in a statement.

She says once she was aware of the possible exposure, she began self-isolating.

“In less than 24 hours after receiving the [public health advisory] and being notified of the potential exposure, I was in contact with public health.”

She says she tested negative for COVID-19 and will be tested again Thursday morning to confirm the results. Archie says she was told there is no chance of transmission to anyone she may have been in contact with since returning to Inuvik over the weekend.

“It is an uneasy feeling being told I may have been exposed to COVID-19 and that the virus is in Inuvik, but I take comfort in the fact that the public health orders that are in place have been working for over a year,” her statement reads.

“I also take comfort in the fact that though we still have ways to go in getting our N.W.T. population vaccinated, that there are over 20,000 people across the N.W.T. who have already received both doses and are fully immunized. I am fortunate to be among that population and encourage all N.W.T. residents who have yet to receive their vaccine to do so.”

Archies says while she received a negative test result, she isn’t “out of the woods” yet.

“I will continue to do my part to keep my family, friends and community safe and will follow all instructions from public health,” she added.

“I want to thank everyone in advance for their concern. Let’s all continue to look after each other and please be kind to one another.”

Archies also urged eligible residents to get the vaccine if they haven’t yet.

The minister’s announcement additionally followed remarks this week from Premier Caroline Cochrane, who said no one, including politicians, is above the law in the region.

This past week, Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn said he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and related to a cluster of four other cases and 90 contacts.

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