The Northwest Territories announced 19 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday but said 23 people had recovered as the number of active cases dipped slightly.
Though the NWT still has the highest rate of active cases in the country, the total of 236 active cases was down slightly from 241 on Tuesday. (The total dropped by five, not four, as a previously reported case in Fort Resolution was entirely deleted.)
Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilǫ have 143 active cases, an increase of two since Tuesday (13 new cases and 11 “resolved,” a phrase the NWT government now uses to mean either the person recovered or passed away).
In Behchokǫ̀, the number of active cases increased by three to 54 (six new cases and three resolved). Whatì dropped to 22 cases from 30 a day earlier, with eight resolved cases and no new occurrences.
Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation remained on nine active cases. Fort Good Hope had one resolved case, dropping from two active cases to one.
Délı̨nę, Norman Wells, Łutsël K’é, and Fort Liard each remain on one active case.
There were no new hospitalizations or deaths reported.
The territory’s chief public health officer, Dr Kami Kandola, announced stricter gathering limits for Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilǫ on Wednesday afternoon.
As of 11:59pm on Friday, public gatherings in Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilǫ will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors for at least 10 days. Previous capacity exemptions for non-essential businesses, including restaurants and bars, will no longer apply.
Among affected Yellowknife businesses, gyms operated by the Racquet Club and Stanley Boxing and Fitness both told members they were working on plans to remain open in some form. Fishy People, operators of a restaurant and open-air bar, said products from its newly opened butchery will be available online with an option for curbside pickup.
Behchokǫ̀, which has been in containment since September 9, will remain under the same restrictions until at least October 7. Whatì, which has been in containment since the end of September 11, will remain so until at least October 9.
Non-essential travel in the territory is not recommended, especially to Yellowknife, “unless absolutely essential,” Dr Kandola cautioned.
Meanwhile, the territorial health authority confirmed an “infrastructure limitation” at Stanton Territorial Hospital is affecting oxygen delivery to severely ill Covid-19 patients.
High-flow oxygen devices – which help Covid-19 patients breathe, and are now considered a better initial option than intubation and mechanical ventilators – require more than four times the oxygen flow of a ventilator.
The health authority said the “total volume of oxygen that can be delivered in each zone of the building at one time” is limited at the hospital, which opened in 2019.
The hospital is using bedside oxygen tanks and seeking “advice on immediate mitigation strategies” from experts in Alberta.