Gathering restrictions, school closures, in Yellowknife area to be extended until Oct. 17

Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer, said she will extend the gathering restrictions in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ and keep schools closed until Oct. 17.

Dr. Kami Kandola 'would have to see a consistent drop in cases' to reopen schools

Terriorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg, left, and N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in the territory Wednesday afternoon. (CBC)

Gathering restrictions in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ will be extended until Oct. 17, N.W.T. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said at a Wednesday news conference.

The current public health order was initially set to expire on Oct. 11.

Schools in the three communities will remain closed during that time.

"Some schools may open on Oct. 18," said Kandola, adding she will make an announcement about it next week.

But she said she needs to see a downward trend in the number of cases in the communities for her to decide to open schools again.

"I would have to see a consistent drop in active cases in Yellowknife," she said.

"It doesn't have to be to a zero active case level, but there has to be some kind of indication that we have reached a peak and that we are consistently going in a downward trend."

And, she added, "that we have a good handle on active cases, their isolation and their contacts."

Missed the news conference? Watch it here.

Quiet Thanksgiving ahead

The Northwest Territories is in the throes of its worst outbreak of COVID-19 yet. It reported 348 COVID-19 cases across the territory Tuesday, the most it has seen since the start of the pandemic. 

Kandola said the N.W.T.'s active rate of COVID[-19] infection is 7.5 times the national average.

"We are the highest in Canada," she said, adding that the territory has not reached a peak in the current wave of this outbreak.

She said the additional restrictions put in place in Behchokǫ̀ last Monday are there to stop the transmission of COVID-19 in the Tłı̨chǫ region and Yellowknife, and to protect the limited capacity of the health care system.

"It will take a few days to evaluate the effectiveness of this new order," she said, adding that officials are looking at increasing enforcement capacity.

Kandola said she's hoping to see a drop in cases as the week progresses and asked all residents in Behchokǫ̀, Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations within their households.

Whatì containment order to expire

Kandola said she will not extend the containment order for Whatì when it expires on Oct. 9, citing a substantial drop on the number of active cases in the community. 

The number of active cases in Whatì peaked at 33 on Sept. 17. On Tuesday, the community had just one active case. 


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