Yellowknife recorded 14 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday as the city – now under new, yet old restrictions on gathering – squarely became the focus of the NWT’s month-long outbreak.
There have been 413 cases since the outbreak began at a Fort Good Hope hand games tournament in early August. Of those, 110 remained active on Wednesday.
Seventy-three of those active cases are in Yellowknife, a nine-case increase on Tuesday as some cases recovered but more were added.
In the Sahtu, by contrast, the number of active cases fell from 46 on Tuesday to 33 on Wednesday. Only in Tulita, which moved from six to eight active cases, is that number growing. Tulita duly extended its local state of emergency by a week to September 15.
Fort Good Hope, which has recorded 112 Covid-19 cases in the past month, is now down to 17 active cases. There are none in Colville Lake, three in Délı̨nę, and five in Norman Wells.
Three other NWT communities have active cases: two in Fort Providence and one each in Gamètì and Behchokǫ̀.
Hospitalizations held steady at 12, with no fresh intensive care admissions.
With Yellowknife’s cases now driving the outbreak, gatherings in the city – and the nearby communities of Ndilǫ, Dettah, and Behchokǫ̀ – are returning to the same restrictions residents experienced at the pandemic’s onset in spring 2020.
From 5pm on Wednesday until at least the end of September 22, residents in those communities cannot have more than five guests in their home, to a maximum of 10 people in the household. Indoor public gatherings are limited to 25 and outdoor gatherings to 50.
In a late Wednesday statement, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said all non-essential workers in those communities should work from home for the next two weeks where possible. GNWT staff will commence doing so on Thursday, Dr Kandola said.
As demand in Yellowknife grows, testing clinic hours are being extended on each of September 9, 10, 11, and 12 (visit the health authority’s website for details).
Meanwhile, updated vaccination data suggests the August spike in Sahtu cases is having some impact on immunization rates in the region.
Colville Lake has now at least partially vaccinated 72 percent of its adult residents, roughly on a par with some other NWT communities and outstripping the likes of Behchokǫ̀ (66 percent) and Wekweètì (68 percent).
However, the community still has a full vaccination rate among adults of 38 percent, the lowest in the territory.