NWT releases new data on the most severe Covid-19 cases

Nobody under 30 has died from Covid-19 in the Northwest Territories so far, the territory’s chief public health officer said as she released a raft of new data.

As the NWT reached 10,000 Covid-19 cases, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola published data from those cases that sets out how the risk of severe outcomes changes depending on various factors.

Hospitalization rates so far have been four times higher for unvaccinated people in the NWT than for those who are fully vaccinated, Dr Kandola wrote on Tuesday. The death rate so far is more than 3.5 times higher among the unvaccinated.


The data broadly backs up what most scientists have to date concluded: older people are at more risk, and last fall’s Delta variant was significantly more likely to cause harm than the later Omicron variant.

The figures are unlikely to change many minds.

Some residents will feel the new data demonstrates that the likelihood of a severe outcome was small and the territory’s two years of restrictions were an outsized response, particularly in schools. Others will feel the new information only further proves the importance of protecting Elders and fully justifies the measures the NWT enacted.

Above: Charts provided by the territorial government on Tuesday.

Other key points in Kandola’s data included:

  • Residents aged over 80 were at the highest risk of hospitalization
  • Nobody aged five to 14 has needed hospital treatment for Covid-19 yet
  • Infection with the Delta variant appears 5.5 times more likely to result in hospitalization or death than infection with Omicron

Kandola’s data included some statistics of interest that were not immediately addressed.


For example, the data shows residents aged 30 to 49 were more likely to end up in hospital with Delta than people aged 50 to 64, whereas the opposite has so far been true for Omicron. Even with 10,000 cases, low numbers of hospitalizations – particularly during the Omicron wave – mean there are relatively few data points to work with.

Vaccination status also appears, in the NWT data, to make much less difference in hospitalization rates for Omicron than it did for Delta.

“Due to the small numbers of some outcomes – such as deaths of NWT residents due to Omicron infection – analysis such as protectiveness of vaccines is not possible since differences may be due to chance alone,” Kandola wrote, pointing instead to national data as a better reflection of vaccine performance.

More: Read the chief public health officer’s news release in full

As of Monday, the NWT had reported 100 hospitalizations, 29 intensive care admissions and 20 deaths as a result of Covid-19.

Delta is considered responsible for 57 hospitalizations, 18 intensive care admissions and 12 deaths from a sample of 1,920 cases.

Omicron is considered responsible for 38 hospitalizations, nine intensive care admissions and eight deaths from a sample of 7,915 cases. (Other, earlier variants are responsible for the remaining hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and cases.)

Kandola concluded: “From the available data, vaccines provided strong protection against severe outcomes during the Delta predominant wave. From Canadian and international data, there is strong evidence that two doses of vaccine protect against many hospitalizations but waning immunity over an interval of six or more months, keeping up to date with vaccines, and receiving a booster dose maximizes protection.”