The gathering restrictions to the Town of Hay River and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation Reserve Lands (Hay River Reserve) has been extended to Nov. 14.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer said in a media advisory on Oct. 29 that the number of cases in the two closely knit South Slave communities is still not under control.

As of Friday evening there were 54 active cases of the 161 in Hay River and KFN. There have been 101 total recent cases since mid-August in the two communities.

The advisory also stated that there had been 11 Covid-related deaths to date.

“The number of individuals with active Covid-19 in Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation is not yet consistently trending in a downward direction,” stated chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola.

“There continues to be positive Covid-19 infections occurring with no clear chain of transmission indicating community spread is occurring.”

The original order had been announced for Oct. 19 through to Nov. 2.

Both updated public health orders for Hay River and KFN can be found on the GNWT Covid-19 website under Current Public Health Orders.

For the Town of Hay River, the order continues to require outdoor gatherings to be limited to 25 persons and people must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres.

This order applies to businesses, religious organizations and sports leagues.

Indoor gatherings continue to require only household members being able to gather in a dwelling place with the only exceptions being caregivers providing assistance to an individual, some cases of childcare or health care arrangements, and in the cases of emergency responses.

People living alone can enter a gathering bubble with one other person.

“For clarity, a bubble can only be exclusively between one person who lives alone, and another person or persons who live in one separate dwelling place together. Multiple bubbles are not permitted,” states the order.

Any restaurant, organization, business or other indoor operation is only allowed a maximum of 10 people indoors.

The only exception to this rule is what the CPHO has identified as “essential businesses” and these include dental clinics, shelters, food banks, grocery and retail stores, gas bars and convenience stores, banks, liquor stores, greenhouses, workplaces providing health and social services and Indigenous-related infrastructure construction projects or natural resource development.

Vince McKay, president of the Hay River Legion said on Friday that the branch is closed during the duration of the public health order, which had originally been Nov. 2. He had expected the possibility of the closure lasting longer.

“For us, we’re holding and we’re doing good and we’re surviving,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to get through this little break, but I think if we were locked down for an extended period of time without any compensation, that would be a struggle.”

Kátł’odeeche First Nation containment order

The Kátł’odeeche First Nation reserve order includes similar gathering restrictions where people are only allowed to gather with people in their own households.

Members are also not allowed to gather outdoors with people who live outside their own household.

Some essential businesses like convenience stores and gas bars are allowed to remain open, however the are also to have a limit of 10 people inside.

Non-essential businesses or operations must be closed to the public and this includes schools and youth centres.

Any indoor gatherings must include the wearing of masks.

The full public health order for KFN can be found on the Covid-19 public orders page on the GNWT website.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer continues reminding people for those 12 years and older who have not done so to get vaccinated to protect themselves from Covid-19.

“Additionally those individuals eligible for the booster dose, residents 18 and older where more than six months has passed since their second dose, should make an appointment for the booster dose,” Kandola said.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

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