The Northwest Territories reported 51 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday: 23 in Yellowknife, 26 in Behchokǫ̀, and two in Fort Smith.
Hospitalizations increased by five, the largest 24-hour increase reported by the territory since the pandemic began. Two more admissions to intensive care were required. No new deaths were reported.
As the number of active cases in Behchokǫ̀ reached a new high – 163 – there was concern that a spike in hospitalizations may come in the days ahead. (Hospitalizations are not reported by community, so it’s impossible to track any given community’s hospitalization rate.)
One healthcare worker with direct knowledge of the outbreak’s front line told Cabin Radio Covid-19 patients’ condition can sometimes deteriorate nine to 11 days after the disease is first detected. Behchokǫ̀’s latest surge in cases began nine days ago.
“The situation is Behchokǫ̀ has me very worried,” said the healthcare worker, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak on the matter. “Day nine to 11, you deteriorate. We’re approaching that and I am very nervous about what will happen.”
Even so, the worker said, the territory’s intensive care unit had yet to be pushed to capacity by the fall outbreak and had space available. The ability of the hospital to deliver oxygen to patients is understood to have improved slightly since issues with oxygen flow in the building were discovered last month, though concern remains that if too many patients are admitted, some will not be able to access high-flow oxygen devices and will instead be forced onto ventilators, a more invasive process.
“At present, we have capacity,” said the healthcare worker, who urged residents to treat gathering restrictions seriously over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“We’re all very aware of what’s going on in Edmonton. They do not have capacity,” they said.
“I don’t want us to be in the same position as Edmonton, where we’re trying to create beds where there aren’t beds.”
In Yellowknife, the number of active Covid-19 cases had risen by 11 to 277 on Thursday.
The NWT’s health authority has now opened its Archibald Street Covid-19 testing clinic to walk-in appointments from 9am to 11am daily. Testing is by appointment only at other times. The health authority published a webpage setting out the circumstances in which booking a test was appropriate, and the circumstances when the city’s Covid-19 clinic or the hospital may be a better option.
Fort Smith added two cases of Covid-19, moving to seven active cases. The town also had an exposure advisory for its Fields store, while advisories were issued for various Yellowknife locations and one flight.
Overall, the NWT has now reported 1,296 Covid-19 cases since the present outbreak of the Delta variant began in early August. Of those, 456 remain active.