The Northwest Territories announced 36 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of active cases to 181.
Of the active cases, 121 are in Yellowknife, an increase of four since Monday. Twenty-nine are in Behchokǫ̀, an increase of seven, and 20 are in Whatì, an increase of six.
More than 70 people with Covid-19 are “underhoused,” in the terminology of the territorial government, or work to support that population of vulnerable residents.
Whatì is now experiencing community spread, as are Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀, meaning any public place in the three communities is considered a potential Covid-19 exposure site by the territory’s chief public health officer.
Other communities with remaining active cases include Fort Good Hope with five, Norman Wells with three, Tulita and Hay River (and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation) with two, and Inuvik, Łútsël K’é, and Fort Liard with one each.
There have now been 17 hospitalizations since the start of the outbreak,and 21 since the beginning of the pandemic.
“At this point, it’s hard to know whether we’re continuing to see increases in cases or if we’re on the downswing,” Dr Kandola said on Tuesday.
“The thing with the Delta variant is people underestimate how infectious this is. It will find the pockets of unvaccinated populations and it will spread very quickly.”
Kandola said there is currently a 48-hour delay in testing, so there are likely more cases that haven’t yet been identified.
Tuesday brought some positive news. Twelve of the NWT’s communities have now reached a full vaccination rate of 75 percent or more among residents aged 12 and up, while Norman Wells’ containment order lifts at midnight between Tuesday and Wednesday. An outbreak at the community’s long-term care facility is considered over.
Also on Tuesday, Yellowknife Ski Club announced its chalet will become a temporary isolation centre for people affected by the city’s growing Covid-19 outbreak. The city’s community arena will become an emergency shelter.
At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Shane Thompson, the minister of municipal and community affairs, said the territorial government had requested an additional 20 Canadian Red Cross staff to provide non-clinical support, such as emergency responders or emergency care workers.
There are currently 14 Red Cross nurses and doctors helping in the NWT.
Meanwhile, the Yellowknife Daycare Association said an individual at its daycare had tested positive for Covid-19. All children and teachers in the affected classroom were immediately sent home, the association told parents.
The daycare and its programs will close for the rest of the week at least.
“The Yellowknife Daycare Association will notify member families as soon as possible if it becomes clear that an extended closure is necessary, and otherwise will confirm on Sunday, September 19 that the daycare and after-school programs will be resuming,” the association wrote.
“We recognize the significant disruption and burden this places on families and our staff and we appreciate your patience and cooperation during this time in hopes that we can re-open next week.”