Behchokǫ̀ will stay under the NWT’s most severe Covid-19 restrictions for an extra week because case numbers are not dropping as expected, the territory’s chief public health officer says.
The Thursday evening announcement, extending the restrictions until at least October 29, came just two hours after the territorial government had reported no new cases in the community for the past day.
But Dr Kami Kandola’s office said fresh cases reported after the daily 9am reporting cut-off indicated that “community transmission continues and risks the health and safety of residents.”
The number of new cases was not immediately specified but will be included in the territory’s daily Covid-19 update late on Friday afternoon.
While most of the NWT will move to a new system of restrictions on Friday – one primarily governed by the use of vaccination verification to increase gathering sizes and capacities – Behchokǫ̀ will now remain under a form of strict containment that limits travel into or out of the community to people who are fully vaccinated or test negative for Covid-19.
“The number of individuals with active Covid-19 in Behchokǫ̀ continues to decrease, but there is concern that the Covid-19 is not resolving as quickly as expected,” read a statement from Dr Kandola’s office.
“After consulting with local leadership in the community of Behchokǫ̀, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is announcing an extension to the Behchokǫ̀ temporary Covid-19 restrictions through to 11:59pm on October 29, 2021.”
The surprise extension comes a day after the territory’s leadership appeared to confirm Yellowknife and Behchokǫ̀ would both see their harshest restrictions of the pandemic eased on Friday.
There was no suggestion on Thursday evening that Yellowknife will also have its current restrictions extended. Eight new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the city on Thursday and 125 cases remain active.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the NWT government said Behchokǫ̀ had 66 active cases but had reported no new cases in the 24 hours leading up to the morning cut-off.