As the Town of Hay River and the K’atl’odeeche First Nation overcome the two-week gathering and containment orders, the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority is marking significant progress made in ensuring residents were properly cared for.

As of Nov. 5, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer reported seven active cases in Hay River and KFN, down sharply from the 50 active cases at the beginning of the public order, Oct. 22.

Last week, Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer announced last week that she was revoking by a week the public health orders for both communities due to decreasing cases. She had originally scheduled gathering and containment orders in Hay River and KFN to remain in effect until Nov. 14.

The revocation took effect on Nov. 7 at 11:59 p.m.

Both communities both communities will be required to follow the territory-wide public health order that took effect on Oct. 22, restricting indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor events to 50 people, unless exemptions are granted.

Erin Griffiths, chief executive officer of the health authority reported that the two-week period to date has been very active with hundreds being tested for Covid-19.

“The last few weeks have been extremely busy as our team responded to the outbreak and supported our community,” she said. “Our team has tested over 600 residents in both Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation over the last few weeks, which is a significant accomplishment.”

Griffiths said that the health centre is also continuing to provide Covid-19 vaccines, booster doses and flu clinics.

Although busy, she has been very pleased with the ability of the health authority to work closely with KFN leadership and other regional partners, she said.

“The progressive decrease in cases can be directly attributed to the hard work of the residents and businesses both in Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation, who followed the recent Gathering and Containment restrictions as ordered by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer,” she said. “Our communities respected and abided by the orders which provided people the opportunity to safely recover from Covid-19 and stop the spread.”

Mayor Kandis Jameson said that the results have been positive and she credited residents for following public health orders so that town facilities could begin to open up again this week.

“As you can tell by our numbers our community has recognized that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and are following the rules, or at least the majority do, or we wouldn’t be down where we are,” she said.

“That we got to open up a week earlier than anticipated tells you that we did what we needed to do to control what was happening in our community.”

Jameson has been in close contact with Griffiths during the pandemic and said that the HRHSSA’s work in providing for the community is very much needed given the challenges the overall health care system faces in the Northwest Territories.

“Stanton Territorial Hospital staff are overworked and that’s the biggest problem right now because we are in the middle of a pandemic and trying to control the numbers in our healthcare system,” she said, adding that it is even more difficult when the health care system isn’t fully staffed. “So my heart goes out to them and I thank them for all the work they do, because without them we’d really be floundering.”

A message was left with K’atl’odeeche First Nation Chief April Martel on Monday.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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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