YELLOWKNIFE March 15, 2022 – The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) is releasing data that identifies factors that impact the risk of severe health COVID-19 outcomes including hospitalization and death in the Northwest Territories (NWT). While presenting this data it is important to note that the CPHO recognizes that each death from a COVID-19 represents a significant loss to families, friends and communities in the NWT.
- To compare outcomes between different demographics and variants the outcomes are presented as a rate per 10,000 persons, in a specified time period.
- Since March 2020 until present:
- Individuals over the age of 80 were at the greatest risk of hospitalization at a rate of 322.1 per 10,000 persons, and death at a rate of 161 per 10,000 persons, from a COVID-19 infection.
- There were no deaths in residents under the age of 30 in the NWT.
- There were no hospitalizations in the 5-14 age category.
- The hospitalization rate was nearly four (4) times higher in those who were unvaccinated compared to those who received two or more doses of vaccine.
- The death rate was more than 3.5 times higher in those who were unvaccinated compared to those who received two or more doses of vaccine.
- The hospitalization and death rates in those infected with a presumed Delta variant are 5.5 times greater than those with presumed Omicron infections.
- The hospitalization and death rates for the NWT population as a whole during the Delta predominant wave are 1.5 times the rate during the Omicron predominant wave. Importantly, the Delta wave lasted about four months whereas the Omicron wave is approaching three (3) months.
*ICU Required is represented as a percentage of all hospitalizations and not as per 10,000 population.
Note that the total hospitalizations are 100 as of March 14, 2022. Five hospitalizations from wild-type or other variants are not shown.
Last week the NWT reached a threshold that allows the CPHO to report additional information on COVID-19 deaths when the 20th northern resident passed away due to a COVID-19 infection. Importantly, due to the small numbers of some outcomes such as deaths of NWT residents due to Omicron infection, analysis such as protectiveness of vaccines is not possible since differences may be due to chance alone. The CPHO utilizes Canadian and international reviews of vaccine effectiveness against Omicron and encourages all residents and media to review the data provided by the Government of Canada as it provides a better overall picture of certain outcomes.
As of Monday, March 14, 2022 there have been a total of 100 hospitalizations, 29 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and 20 deaths due to COVID-19 infections.
The wave attributed to the Delta variant resulted in 57 hospitalizations, 18 ICU admissions and 12 deaths. The hospitalization rate was 4.3 times higher for unvaccinated individuals over those who received two or more doses of vaccine. The death rate was 8.7 times higher for unvaccinated individuals over those who received two or more doses of vaccine.
The Omicron wave has produced many more infections, but the risk of hospitalizations or deaths for a person experiencing an Omicron infection was much lower.
The Omicron predominant wave has resulted in 38 hospitalizations, nine ICU admissions and eight deaths, since December 22, 2021. The hospitalization rate was similar between unvaccinated residents (9.1) and those who received two or more doses of vaccine (8.0). The number of deaths was too low to draw conclusions about vaccine effectiveness in preventing Omicron deaths in the NWT.
Severe outcomes are defined as cases characterized by hospitalizations, ICU admissions or death. Cases are counted as a severe outcome once even if they are admitted to hospital and/or ICU and/or are deceased.
Increasing age severely impacts the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes in the NWT, as in other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally. Residents of Tłı̨chǫ, Sahtu and Yellowknife had a higher rate of severe outcomes compared to other regions of the NWT during the Delta predominant wave. During the Omicron predominant wave, most NWT regions have similar rates of severe outcomes. From the available data, vaccines provided strong protection against severe outcomes during the Delta predominant wave. From Canadian and international data, there is strong evidence that two doses of vaccine protects against many hospitalizations, but waning immunity over an interval of six (6) or more months, keeping up to date with vaccines and receiving a booster dose maximizes protection.
All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.
Manager, COVID Communications
COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories