Aklavik now has 29 active cases of Covid-19, according to numbers posted to the Covid-19 dashboard Jan. 4 evening.
On top of the Aklavik outbreak, Fort McPherson now has five active cases, Inuvik now has 13 active cases, Tsiigehtchic has one and Tuktoyaktuk has two.
New public health measures were announced earlier in the day by Chief Public Health Officer Kami Kandola in an effort to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, which Kandola said is now the dominant strain in the Northwest Territories. Drinking establishments are capped at six per table, and moving from table to table is not allowed.
With over 6,700 people returning from outside the NWT, Kandola said the government is asking all of them to self isolate for three days upon arriving at their destination. GNWT employees are required to work from home for at least three days if returning from outside the territory, but self-isolation remains optional for anyone else.
“Part of our transition to living with Covid is to have people follow recommendations and adapt their own behaviours,” she said. “The first 72-hour recommendations have actually have lead to a lot of people testing positive, becoming symptomatic and reporting their symptoms. This is how we picked up all these cases, because all these people were able to follow recommendations.
“The least public health restrictions is what we’re aiming for. At some point in the near future we transition out of a public health order. With the Omicron variant being a milder variant, with the high rate of fully vaccinated and boosted people, it is important that we work as a partnership and we work together. We need to be moving away from orders and more towards risk assessment.”
Household gatherings are limited once again to 10 people, with a maximum of five permitted from outside each particular household. “High risk” activities, such as singing, dancing, contact sports or funerals will not be permitted until at least the stroke of midnight on Jan. 22.
Health Minister Julie Green said the GNWT would resume updating its Covid-19 dashboard daily soon.
“In order to give our staff a break over the holidays we reduced the amount of reporting that we had been doing,” she said. “Now that everyone is back to work, the reporting will continue as usual starting today. That means a daily case count on Monday to Friday and Community Updates on Monday.
“If there is a need to issue exposure notices because of cases or potential cases in communities — those exposure notices are issued immediately. I really recommend that people bookmark the exposure site on their computers and check it often, because there are lots of exposures coming out within the last few days.
“This is an area of personal responsibility where people need to inform themselves of the risk and adjust their actions to be commensurate with that.”
The cases follow reports that a direct flight from Edmonton to Inuvik has been declared an exposure site.
Anyone who was in rows 15 to 24 on Canadian North Flight 5T 244, which departed from Edmonton to Inuvik on Dec. 27 at 7:45 a.m., must take appropriate Covid-19 precautions, as required by a Public Health Order.
People in rows 15 to 24 who are not fully vaccinated are required to isolate in place for eight days and test for Covid-19 on day 8 before breaking isolation. Anyone who is fully vaccinated is required to self-monitor for 10 days and get tested on day 4 and/or if symptoms occur.
More flights were added in a public exposure update at 4:48 p.m. Dec. 29.
Anyone who was on Canadian North Flight 245 that departed from Inuvik to Norman Wells on Dec. 28 who was in rows 10 to 17 must take legally required safety precautions.