The Northwest Territories government announced 10 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the territory’s total number of active cases to 128 among residents and two out-of-territory cases.
Thursday’s update also reported a total of 227 cases have resolved during the recent outbreak, including two out-of-territory cases, up from 221 resolved cases on Wednesday. Calculating Thursday’s reported number of new positive and resolved cases compared to Wednesday’s active case count however, totals 129 active cases.
Cabin Radio has sought clarification on the discrepancy but did not receive a response as of publication.
On Wednesday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said a containment order for Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake would lift at 11:59pm on Saturday. A separate containment order for Norman Wells which was set to lift this week has been extended until September 14.
According to a Thursday update from the Town of Norman Wells, there is “solid evidence” of community transmission as Covid-19 has been detected in Norman Wells’ sewage. The town says more than 4,400 copies per ml of Covid-19 have been detected in its wastewater, compared to around 100 copies per ml that were detected in Yellowknife during the NJ MacPherson outbreak in May, which had a total of 71 confirmed cases.
The update also raised concerns about a number of people not complying with directions from the chief public health officer. Anyone in the community who has tested positive for Covid-19, their contacts, and anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19 is required to self-isolate.
In order to stop the spread of Covid-19, the town has instituted a midnight to 6am curfew.
There are currently 23 active cases in Fort Good Hope, 25 in Norman Wells, nine in Délınę, three in Colville Lake, and five in Tulita.
The NWT government did not issue any new exposure notices on Thursday. The office of the chief public health officer has said they will issue notices for high exposure sites but that all indoor public locations in Yellowknife should be considered potential exposure sites given ongoing community spread.
In an email to employees with the territorial Department of Lands shared with Cabin Radio, staff were warned of a potential Covid-19 exposure at the Gallery Building in Yellowknife between August 27 to September 1. Staff were told to monitor for symptoms and continue with safety measures. All staff that had prolonged contact with the Covid-19 positive individual have been notified.
“We understand that this information may be concerning but with recent masking orders, staff have been taking the proper health and safety precautions to keep us all safe while at work,” the email reads.
Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces across the territory.
There are currently 53 active cases of Covid-19 in Yellowknife. That includes one case each in students at École St Patrick High School and Sir John Franklin high school. Health officials say neither student acquired Covid-19 at school.
Elsewhere in the territory there is one case each in Inuvik and Behchokǫ̀, three each in Gamètì and Hay River/Kátł’odeeche First Nation, and two each in Fort Simpson and Fort Providence.
Tłı̨chǫ schools opening for in-person learning
The Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency (TCSA) announced on Thursday that Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School and Chief Jimmy Bruneau school in Behchokǫ̀, along with Jean Wetrade Gamètì School in Gamètì will reopen to in-person learning on September 7.
“The safety of students and staff are our top priority,” the agency’s director of education stated in a letter to parents and guardians. “If the public health situation changes, TCSA is prepared to transition to online learning.”
Safety protocols at the schools will include mandatory use of masks indoors for staff and students throughout the school day and while on the bus, schools will be restricting visitors and classes will be encouraged to take place outside.
Federal help extended
According to a tweet from Michael McLeod, who is currently running for re-election as NWT MP with the Liberal Party, due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in the territory, resources from the Canadian Forces have been extended to September 17 while resources from the Red Cross have been extended until September 19.
In late August, a federal epidemiologist, five Canadian Red Cross nurses and several Canadian Rangers arrived in the NWT to help bring the Covid-19 outbreak under control.
On Wednesday, the territorial government said there was one Canadian Ranger in Colville Lake, five in Fort Good Hope, and two each in Délı̨nę, Tulita and Norman Wells.
Scott Robertson, executive co-lead for the territory’s Covid-19 response team, told reporters on Wednesday that a number of nurses have been moved between health centres in the NWT and other healthcare staff have been redeployed to help with the outbreak.
Anti-parasitic drug not safe for Covid use, says Health Canada
Health Canada issued an alert on Tuesday warning that neither the animal nor human versions of Ivermectin should be used to treat or prevent Covid-19 following “concerning reports” of people doing so.
“There is no evidence that Ivermectin in either formulation is safe or effective when used for those purposes,” the alert states.
Health Canada is monitoring all potential therapeutic treatments for Covid-19 and has not received any drug submission or clinical trial application for Ivermectin related to Covid-19.
In Canada, the human version of the drug is only authorized for the treatment of parasitic worm infections. Health Canada says the veterinary version, which has a higher concentrated dose, can cause serious health problems for humans including vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, seizures, coma, and even death. In the US, there have been multiple reports of people being hospitalized after using Ivermectin intended for horses and cattle.