On Friday, the Northwest Territories announced 28 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases in the territory to 197.
There is also one additional out-of-territory case, bringing the total number of current cases to 198.
Of the new cases, eight are in Fort Good Hope, 18 are in Colville Lake, one is in Délı̨nę, and one is in Yellowknife.
With 78 cases in total now, more than half of Coville Lake’s population is infected. Elsewhere, the new cases bring the totals to 86 in Fort Good Hope, eight in Délı̨nę, 10 in Norman Wells, one in Inuvik, and 20 in Yellowknife.
While the Chief Public Health Officer’s office reported there were 29 new cases, community figures only show 28 new cases.
Hospitalizaions remain less than five, although an exact number is not known.
Health Centres in the Sahtu and Dehcho regions are only running on emergency services until further notice, Friday’s news release noted. People can still book immunizations although other regular appointments may be delayed.
Yellowknife Primary Care Clinic and Frame Lake Community Health Centre will “be providing virtual appointments” for the rest of the month, the NWT’s health authority said, and Yellowknife Public Health will also be operating reduced services as staff have been redeployed to help with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.
“Appointments related to STI testing, Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission, and newborn vaccinations will still be available during this time; if you are unsure if your appointment will proceed, please call ahead,” continued the update.
One new high-exposure notification was issued on Friday for the Salvation Army in Yellowknife. Anyone who slept overnight at the Salvation Army shelter between August 15 and 19 must isolate for 10 days and arrange testing.
“There are hotel rooms available for people who need to isolate,” NWT health minister Julie Green wrote on Twitter. Green said staff are tracking down people who might have been at the Salvation Army on those dates and helping them to access those rooms.
Covid-19 updates across the NWT and Canada
In other updates as the week comes to a close, Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya told reporters the Sahtu’s Covid-19 outbreak shows the disparities between small communities and larger regional centres in the NWT.
He said more staff, facilities, and rapid tests were needed, and that a housing crisis in the affected communities is compounding the impact of the pandemic.
The Dene Nation is also considering postponing its September 15 election next month as Covid-19 cases increase. Yakeleya is running for re-election against Gerald Antoine, who is currently Chief of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation.
Across the NWT, the health and social services authority reintroduced visiting restrictions in long-term care homes.
Facilities in Yellowknife, Norman Wells, and Behchokǫ̀ are now closed to visitors, while in Fort Smith, Hay River, Fort Simpson, and Inuvik, facilities now have a limit of two designated visitors per resident.
Norman Wells’ North-Wright Airways has announced it is offering 30 percent off general and priority cargo when shipping from Yellowknife to the Sahtu communities. The airline is also offering a free pick-up service.
“There has been a lot of ‘bad news’ going on and hopefully this could help to lift some spirits in the community,” a spokesperson for North-Wright wrote to Cabin Radio. The promotion runs until August 30.
In Fort Smith, wastewater monitoring results have not been updated since July 29. A spokesperson for the Covid-19 Secretariat said, “Unfortunately, at this time, there are mechanical issues affecting an autosampler in the wastewater testing program Fort Smith. Officials are manually monitoring periodic samples at this time until the mechanical issue is repaired.”
It’s still not clear why the Department of Health and Social Services is not updating the data using the manually collected samples.
Nationally, the CBC reported the Canada-United States land border will stay closed until at least September 21. The US said the Delta variant of Covid-19 was increasing case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths as the reason for the border closure.
The CBC also reported Canada’s five major banks – BMO, RBC, CIBC, Scotia Bank, and TD – will require their staff to be fully vaccinated by November 1.
Correction: August 24, 2021 – 8:59 MT. This article initially reported that the Yellowknife Primary Care Clinic and Frame Lake Community Health Centre were only holding virtual appointments until the end of the month. This came from a GNWT news release that in part stated: “The Yellowknife Primary Care Clinic and Frame Lake Community Health Centre will be providing virtual appointments until the end of August.” It has since been clarified by the health authority that this sentence means virtual appointments are being provided in addition to – and not instead of – in-person appointments.