Omicron BA.2 has arrived in the Northwest Territories but won’t affect the lifting of remaining pandemic restrictions on April 1, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola says.
The BA.2 variant is reported to be around 30 percent more transmissible than the established Omicron BA.1 variant but is not thought to lead to more severe illness. Vaccines are considered effective against it.
Dr Kandola’s office said cases had turned up in Yellowknife and the Beaufort Delta. Confirmation of more BA.2 cases in other communities is expected shortly.
“With this increased transmissibility, the NWT should expect either a slower decline in cases or an increase in the true number of Covid-19 infections in the coming weeks,” Kandola wrote in a Tuesday advisory.
“The arrival of BA.2 does not change the timeline for the ending of the NWT public health emergency. On April 1, 2022, there will no longer be any active public health orders in the NWT.
“Communities must continue to assess risk and create protective environments for everyone, especially those at high risk of severe health outcomes.”
The NWT reported its 21st death related to Covid-19 on Monday. As of Monday there were 308 active Covid-19 cases in the territory, which has now recorded some 10,000 cases among its population of 45,000 or so residents since the pandemic began.