Covid-19 case numbers have fallen in Tuktoyaktuk but not far enough for the hamlet to exit containment, the NWT’s chief public health officer said on Thursday.
Dr Kami Kandola said she expected there to be more than 17 active cases when the existing containment order was due to lift on Monday, November 29, so the order will be extended until at least the end of December 5.
“The risk of continued Covid-19 transmission is significant if the public health order is lifted while there are so many active cases in the community,” Dr Kandola wrote.
Students in Tuktoyaktuk are now set to return to in-person learning on December 6.
“Residents in Tuktoyaktuk have done a fantastic job at working together to contain the transmission of Covid-19 in their community,” said Kandola.
“By staying home and isolating as required, the community has slowed the spread of Covid-19 significantly. These orders are difficult but residents are encouraged to continue to support one another through this difficult time.”
Tuktoyaktuk, a hamlet of 900 people, has so far reported 125 cases of Covid-19 since November 8. Of those, 32 remained active as of Thursday. There were two new cases in Tuk on Thursday, the only NWT community reporting new cases for the third day straight as all other figures, including hospitalizations and deaths, remained unchanged.
On Wednesday, Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson said he was “proud” of the community’s response since its outbreak began earlier this month.
However, Jacobson questioned how the territorial government was financially supporting Tuktoyaktuk as the containment order keeps non-essential businesses closed and curbs travel.
“Our small communities do not have the resources to help their residents in regards to increased demand on food, the hampers that we should be giving. People need assistance,” Jacobson said.
“They can’t go to Inuvik to go buy food and it’s not easy to go out on the land because we’re on lockdown in the community.
“The community’s willing to do what it takes but it has had zero help for payment.”
Shane Thompson, the NWT’s minister of municipal and community affairs, said Tuk had received $214,000 “through three payments as Covid started in the Territories” and was “trying to help as best we can.”