N.W.T. adds 21 new cases of COVID-19, detects unexpected signal in Behchokǫ̀ wastewater

The N.W.T. added 21 new cases of COVID-19 and two communities to its latest outbreak over the weekend, territorial health officials reported late Monday. No cases have been identified in Behchokǫ̀, but COVID-19 has been detected in wastewater there.

190 active cases in the Sahtu region, 27 in Yellowknife

A banner in support of healthcare workers on a fence outside Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife on Aug. 21, 2021. The territory released updated COVID-19 numbers Monday. (Liny Lamberink/CBC)

The N.W.T. added 21 new cases of COVID-19 and two communities to its latest outbreak over the weekend, territorial health officials reported Monday evening. 

Most cases are still in the Sahtu region:

  • Fort Good Hope, 89.
  • Colville Lake, 74.
  • Deline, 9.
  • Norman Wells, 18.

Yellowknife now has 27 cases, and Hay River and Inuvik each have one. Fort Providence was reported to have one case, which follows several exposure notices issued for locations in that community over the weekend. 

The hospitalization count remains below five.

Behchokǫ̀ update

No cases have yet been detected in Behchokǫ̀, but health officials said an unexpected signal of COVID-19 was detected in wastewater there Monday. The sample suggests at least one person with COVID-19 was in the community between Aug. 20 and 23. 

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 in Behchokǫ̀ should isolate and arrange for testing, as should anyone in Behchokǫ̀ who was at any location identified under any exposure notice here, or who "identified as contacts to COVID-19."

In addition, anyone who visited any region of the N.W.T. with active COVID-19 between Aug. 10 and 23, and who was in Behchokǫ̀ between Aug. 20 and 23, should arrange for COVID-19 testing.

People in the community are also asked to mask up indoors, get vaccinated and limit indoor gatherings in households until further notice. 

The N.W.T. is experiencing its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date following a hand games tournament in the Sahtu region in early August that's been described as a superspreader event, and that prompted a 10-day containment order for that community and nearby Colville Lake on August 15.

As of Friday, the territory had 198 active cases with the vast majority in the Sahtu communities of Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, Délı̨nę and Norman Wells, one in Inuvik and 21 in Yellowknife. 

A previous outbreak centred on Yellowknife's N. J. Macpherson elementary school grew to 71 cases, and was resolved in mid-June.