The NWT is now reporting 74 active cases of Covid-19, more than twice Monday’s count. Fifty-eight of them are in the Sahtu alone.
In a development that could impact hundreds of Yellowknife residents, the chief public health officer now instructs anyone attending bingo at the city’s Tree of Peace friendship centre on August 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 to immediately isolate for 10 days and arrange for a Covid-19 test.
Those bingo nights – ordinarily attended by many dozens of people – and the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Camp between August 8-13 are the two “high exposure settings” declared by the territory to date in Yellowknife as the outbreak, which originated at a Fort Good Hope hand games tournament from August 5-9, evolves.
There are 14 active cases reported in Yellowknife as of Tuesday evening, one in Inuvik, and one in Hay River, public health officials said in a daily update. Fort Good Hope has 44 active cases with five in Colville Lake, six in Norman Wells, and three in Délı̨nę.
The figure of 74 cases overall represented one more than is currently shown on the territory’s Covid-19 dashboard, which is usually only updated during office hours.
The vast majority of the reported cases – 70 of the 74 – are considered directly connected to the Sahtu outbreak and the hand games superspreader event in Fort Good Hope. The delta variant is suspected, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said earlier this week, though not confirmed.
Yellowknife’s NJ Macpherson School outbreak earlier this year reached 71 cases over a span of weeks, meaning the Sahtu outbreak – only identified three days ago – is all but certain to become the NWT’s largest Covid-19 crisis to date.
So far, one person has been hospitalized. Their condition was not given.
A range of new exposure advisories were issued for various communities, including the Tree of Peace warning.
Anyone who used any taxi in Yellowknife from August 9 to the present is now being told to self-monitor.
Several affected flights are also newly listed.
They are Norman Wells to Inuvik on August 14 (rows 13-19 of Canadian North flight 244), Edmonton to Yellowknife on. August 15 (rows 14-20 of WestJet flight 3258), and any North-Wright Airways flights from Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake to Yellowknife or surrounding communities from August 5 to the present.
The advice for each flight differs – check the exposure advisories website for details.
Non-essential travel into and out of Délı̨nę and Tulita is now “strongly discouraged,” Dr Kandola said, a recommendation already in place for Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake.
Kandola said residents should consider wearing masks in indoor public spaces across the NWT.