There are now 690 active cases of Covid-19 in the NWT, and 95 in the Beaufort Delta.
Numbers accurate to 9 a.m. were published Jan. 7 on the NWT Covid-19 dashboard.
In total, there are 95 cases in the Beaufort Delta, 411 in Yellowknife, 85 in Tłı̨chǫ, 38 in Dehcho, 26 in Hay River, 21 in the Sahtu and 14 in Fort Smith.
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. Officials are expecting more infections and locations to be reported in the coming days, she added.
New public health measures were announced Jan. 4 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 more than 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 led 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 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 soon resume updating its Covid-19 dashboard daily.
“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.”