There remain no hospitalizations associated with the NWT’s Omicron-variant outbreak as the number of active Covid-19 cases across the territory reached 690 on Friday.
That number was an increase of 144 since Thursday and is, by a distance, the largest number of active cases recorded at any one time in the territory since the pandemic began.
Worldwide data so far suggests that many people experience only mild symptoms when contracting the Omicron variant, which early studies have concluded does little lung damage compared to earlier forms of the virus.
That makes hospitalization data a key metric.
The count of 690 active cases may well be an under-representation of the outbreak’s true extent, given the limited testing capacity available and the minor symptoms many people are experiencing.
Even so, the lack of hospitalizations means the NWT has so far avoided adding strain to an already fragile healthcare system – an outcome officials say restrictions introduced this week should help prevent.
Many territorial government staff are now working from home, while the City of Yellowknife said many of its staff would do the same and most city facilities would close to the public from Saturday onward.
Those include City Hall, the fieldhouse and multiplex, the pool and community arena, the library, and the dump.
Closing the multiplex means one of the territory’s first jury trials since the pandemic began has been further delayed, with around 700 potential jurors affected.
Yellowknife reported 411 active Covid-19 cases on Friday, an increase of 92 since Thursday. That figure includes the communities of Fort Resolution and Łútsël K’é, which are part of the NWT health authority’s Yellowknife region.
The city’s YK1 school district and Yellowknife Catholics Schools each confirmed their schools will move to remote learning from Monday, as had been advised by the chief public health officer earlier in the week.
The Beaufort Delta moved from 87 to 95 active cases, the Tłı̨chǫ from 61 to 85, the Dehcho from 31 to 38, Hay River from 22 to 26, the Sahtu from 15 to 21, and Fort Smith from 11 to 14.
Overall, 155 new cases and 11 recoveries were reported in the past day. In the past week, 567 new cases have been identified.
The exposure notifications webpage included one newly added flight, a North-Wright service from Yellowknife to Fort Good Hope on Thursday, January 6.