North

N.W.T. shortens some COVID-19 isolation periods

Some isolation periods due to COVID-19 are being shortened based on a review of the available information about the incubation period of the Omicron variant, the dominant COVID-19 strain in the territory.

Changes now in effect as of 5 p.m. Friday

N.W.T. health officials are shortening some of the isolation periods required around COVID-19 after reviewing available information on the incubation period of the Omicron variant, which is the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the territory. (Lightspring/Shutterstock)

Some isolation periods due to COVID-19 are being shortened in the N.W.T.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) said it's making the changes, which are now in effect as of Friday at 5 p.m., after reviewing information about the incubation period of the Omicron variant, which is the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the territory and the country.

It said that people who are infected with the Omicron variant have symptoms or test positive sooner than with other variants, within "a median of three days." It added that fully vaccinated people who are not immunocompromised clear their infection earlier than those who are not.

Travellers entering the territory who are not fully vaccinated need to isolate for seven days but it can be reduced to five days if "a negative test, delivered by a health care professional in a clinic or health centre, is received on day six ," according to a Friday news release from the OCPHO.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated do not need to isolate but must take a rapid antigen at home on the day they arrive. The OCPHO also continues to recommend that these travellers limit their activities and avoid contact with others for the first 72 hours they are in the territory.

People who have COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days but that can be reduced to seven days if they're fully vaccinated, not immunocompromised, use a mask outside their home for three days, and have no symptoms for the past 24 hours.

People who live with someone who has COVID-19 also must isolate for 10 days. This isolation period cannot be reduced, says the OCPHO.

For those who don't live with someone who has COVID-19 but are a close contact, they must isolate for seven days. This can be reduced to five days if they have had three doses (including the booster dose) and if they don't have any symptoms, wear mask for five more days including outside, and haven't been given different direction from a healthcare provider or public health official.

Cases surge, hospitalizations and ICU admissions remain the same

The number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions remained the same, at 62 and 20 respectively, as the number of COVID-19 cases surged for a second day in a row in the N.W.T.

The N.W.T. government's COVID-19 dashboard indicates there are 144 more cases in the territory Friday than there were on Thursday, when it reported 150 new cases.

There are now 690 active COVID-19 cases across the N.W.T., according to the government's dashboard.

The majority of the cases are in the Yellowknife area where there are 411 cases being reported.

There are also 95 cases in the Beaufort Delta region, 85 in the Tlicho region, 38 in the Dehcho, 26 in Hay River, 21 in the Sahtu and 14 in Fort Smith.

On Thursday, on CBC Radio's Trailbreaker, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said that focusing on "severe outcome data," meaning hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, rather than the number of cases, provides a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation in the territory.

Public exposure notice

The territory issued a public exposure notice that affects all passengers on North-Wright Airways flight 142 from Yellowknife to Fort Good Hope on Jan. 6.

All unvaccinated passengers must isolate in place, not travel, and get a COVID-19 test on day eight or if symptoms develop.

Fully vaccinated passengers on the flight need to self-monitor for 10 days and get tested on day four or if symptoms develop.

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