The Northwest Territories reported 395 active Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, an increase of 69 in the past day. However, there remain no hospitalizations associated with the latest wave of infection.
Another day at zero hospitalizations reinforces early evidence that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is milder than its predecessors and aids the territory in its quest to avoid straining the healthcare system.
Introducing harsher gathering restrictions and suspensions of many sports and activities on Tuesday, the territorial government said important indicators in the latest outbreak would be “severe health outcomes” – increases in hospitalizations, intensive care admissions, and deaths.
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, said this week a key gap in her knowledge is how Omicron will interact with unvaccinated residents who have no immunity.
While case numbers continue to rapidly increase, the likelihood of the public health measures being lifted is slim. But every day without a jump in hospitalizations moves the territory closer to concluding that Omicron may not overwhelm a territorial health network left vulnerable by widespread staff shortages.
Providing a regional breakdown of cases, the NWT government said there were 251 active cases in the Yellowknife area, in which the GNWT includes both Łútsël K’é and Fort Resolution. (Fort Resolution is in the NWT health authority’s Yellowknife region, despite being considered a South Slave community by almost every other government agency.) That number was an increase of 52 on Tuesday’s figure.
Hay River reported 14 active cases, an increase of seven in the past day, while Fort Smith reported seven active cases, down from 13 a day earlier.
The Beaufort Delta moved from 50 to 55 and the Dehcho from 24 to 27. The Sahtu moved from five to 10 active cases and the Tłı̨chǫ communities from 28 to 31.
Overall, 81 new cases and 12 recoveries were reported.