N.W.T.'s chief public health officer issues new, tougher travel rules for Behchokǫ̀

·2 min read
N.W.T. health officials have issued new tougher rules for people going in and out of Behchokǫ. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)
N.W.T. health officials have issued new tougher rules for people going in and out of Behchokǫ. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)

The N.W.T.'s chief public health officer is making it more difficult to travel in and out of Behchokǫ̀ as the community copes with widespread transmission of COVID-19.

Effective Monday at 5 p.m., travellers in and out of the Tłı̨chǫ community will have to provide proof of vaccination, proof of a recent negative test for COVID-19, or proof that they recently had COVID-19, according to a news release from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO).

Behchokǫ̀ is under a containment order which was issued on Sept. 9 when 11 COVID-19 cases were reported in the community. As of Friday, there were 100 COVID-19 cases in Behchokǫ̀. The territory's list of public exposure notices notes that community transmission is occurring in Yellowknife, Whatì and Behchokǫ.

Behchokǫ's containment order is now being amended to include the increased travel restrictions and to extend the order until Oct. 18.

New travel requirements

Travellers who are residents of Behchokǫ̀, are fully vaccinated and have no known exposure to COVID-19 will have to provide proof of vaccination.

Residents with no known exposure to COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test the same day they wish to leave or enter the community. The test results are only valid for 72 hours.

Residents who need to travel for a medical appointment will need a note from the N.W.T. health authority which will be available at the Behchokǫ̀ health centre, or from a health care professional.

Residents who have had COVID-19 and have recovered more than 180 days ago, will need a letter from the OCPHO.

Meanwhile, Behchokǫ̀ residents who are not fully vaccinated and are outside the community may return if they take a test the same day, or the next day if testing is not available. They must also self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

Individuals who live outside Behchokǫ̀ but are in the community at the time of this order, may leave if they take an approved COVID-19 test in another community on the same day, or the next day if a test is not available, and self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

The new rules will be enforced by the community of Behchokǫ with support from the COVID Secretariat's Compliance and Enforcement operations, according to the OCPHO.

The news release also includes a list of people in Behchokǫ who are in isolation or self-isolation and not permitted to leave the community at all. That includes:

  • Anyone with COVID-19

  • Contacts of a person who has COVID-19

  • Those who live with someone who has COVID-19

  • Those who have been told to self-isolate or isolate by a healthcare provider

  • Those with symptoms of COVID-19 who are awaiting assessment.

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