There are now 87 cases of Covid-19 in the Beaufort Delta as the latest wave of the pandemic makes its way through the territory.

In grand total, there are 547 active cases in the NWT as of 9 a.m. on Jan. 6, with 319 in Yellowknife, 61 in the Tłı̨chǫ region, 31 in Dehcho, 22 in Hay River, 15 in the Sahtu and 11 in Fort Smith.

An email obtained by Inuvik Drum from NWT Heath and Social Services authority Beaufort Delta Region notes that 34 of the Beaufort Delta cases are in Aklavik, eight are in Fort McPherson, 29 are in Inuvik, 11 are in Tsiigehtchic and three are in Tuktoyaktuk. However, the email only counts up to 85 active cases, meaning there’s two more currently unspoken for.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said there is evidence of community spread in Aklavik, Behchokǫ̀, Fort Providence, Hay River, Whatì, and Yellowknife including Ndilǫ and Dettah, and officials were expecting more infections and locations to be reported in the coming days.

New public health measures were announced Jan. 4 by 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.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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  1. I think that the wording around “self isolation” could be confusing or misleading. It is my understanding that the 72 hours upon arrival are recommended to have limited contact with others, but a full official isolation in which one cannot enter any other building or have visitors is not required. Copied from the ‘After Arriving in the NWT’ GNWT page:
    – Limit contact between your household and others.
    – Wear a well-constructed and tight fitting mask in all public spaces.
    – Do not attend large gatherings.
    – Use the rapid tests distributed at the Yellowknife and Inuvik airports to test yourself on your day of arrival and 72 hours later.