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Outbreak eases in YK, Behchokǫ̀ but grows in Inuvik, Hay River

A colourized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles
A colourized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (orange). Image: NIAID-RML

Monday’s Covid-19 figures in the Northwest Territories brought good news for Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ but showed a worsening picture for Inuvik and Hay River.

While Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ still have by far the most active cases in the NWT, the pattern is now one of gradually diminishing caseloads. Yellowknife was down to 151 active Covid-19 cases on Monday, from 195 on Friday. Behchokǫ̀ dropped from 117 to 68.

The reduction brings Yellowknife to its lowest active case count in more than a month. While 34 new cases were reported since Friday, there were dozens of recoveries. No new deaths were reported in the NWT, though there were three more hospitalizations since Friday and one new intensive care admission.

Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ appear on the road to gradual recovery as they near the anticipated end of strict limits on gatherings. This Friday should mark a shift from those restrictions to a new model where gatherings of 100 or, in some cases, more can be allowed if only fully vaccinated people (and those ineligible for vaccines, like young children) attend.



However, Hay River and Inuvik present a different picture in Monday’s figures.

Inuvik, where early signs of community spread have been reported, added six new cases since Friday and moved to 14 active cases overall, the first time the town’s active case count has reached double digits.

Hay River, where exposure has been reported in at least three schools, reported nine new cases since Friday and now has 21 active cases.

“Exposure notifications have been distributed to students identified through contact tracing efforts at Harry Camsell School and Princess Alexandra School,” the territorial government said on Monday.

“Those affected by the notifications are following isolation and testing protocols as outlined by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer and will pivot to remote learning. Both schools remain open to in-person learning for students not affected by the exposure notifications.”

No other NWT communities reported new infections. Fort Smith’s active case count dropped from five to two, while Norman Wells returned to zero active cases.