N.W.T.'s public health emergency is extended once again

·2 min read

The Northwest Territories government once again extended its public health emergency on Tuesday, ensuring the emergency will last until at least April 13.

Extending the declaration maintains the N.W.T. chief public health officer's powers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, such as putting in place restrictions related to travel, isolation and gatherings.

The territory has now been under a public health emergency for more than a year, having initially made the declaration on March 18, 2020.

“The public health emergency is required to continue to decisively respond to shifts in the N.W.T.’s own public health situation and maintain preventative measures,” stated a brief Tuesday news release from the territorial government.

By law, the emergency must be either renewed or terminated every two weeks.

On Monday in the Legislative Assembly, health minister Julie Green said the territory may need to change its target of having 75 per cent of eligible adults vaccinated.

Green said the target may change based on development of variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 and uncertainty over how the virus can be transmitted despite vaccination.

The territory is under pressure to clarify its guidance on when COVID-19 restrictions will change. The N.W.T. has not moved from phase two of its reopening plan since last summer. A revision of that plan is expected next month.

According to numbers from the GNWT, 23,722 people in the N.W.T. have had one dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and close to 14,000 have received both doses.

Monday also saw health officials announce a new COVID-19 case at the Diavik mine.

The case poses no identified risk to the public, the territorial government said. The individual, who is not an N.W.T. resident, is currently isolating, as are 35 other potential contacts.

Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio