Set your safety nets

COVID-19 will be around for a long time even with effective vaccines. We must continue to live with the virus and adapt to a new normal.

Personal choice and managing your risk

We have learned that the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 are to use layers of protection. If we think of these different layers of protection as nets we can set to catch COVID-19, we can also think about how layering them all together creates the best overall defense.

  • Determining personal risk becomes an individual responsibility once there are no more public health orders in the NWT.

  • Understanding how layers of protection can work together to reduce risk can assist you in making personal protective choices for yourself and others.

Get vaccinated

The most important measure is getting vaccinated.

The vaccines in the NWT are very safe and effective. In some high-risk situations, however, like living in a home with someone who has COVID-19, even someone who is fully vaccinated can still develop COVID-19. Even if a person develops COVID-19, the vaccines are very protective against severe disease.

It is also important that NWT residents get their second dose as soon as they are eligible. Since  first dose vaccinations have increased across Canada, the delta variant (B.1.617) has become the dominant variant. Studies have shown that having only one dose of mRNA vaccine is not as effective against this variant over time.

Learn more

Safe travel

For travel advice and guidance, NWT residents can review the COVID-19 Hotspots webpage. It is always important to look at provincial and territorial breakdowns of regional hotspots for COVID-19 activity.

Learn more

Practice healthy habits

Make informed decisions and assess your personal level of risk when choosing to attend gatherings or events, when travelling and if there are exposure risks to COVID-19 in your community. Healthy habits are things you can do everyday to protect yourself. They include:

  • Physical Distancing
  • Wear a mask (There is currently a mandatory indoor masking in order in the NWT. For more information see NWT-Wide Mandatory Face Mask Requirement)
  • Clean surfaces
  • Wash hands often
  • Stay home when sick
  • Self-monitor for symptoms
  • Avoid large gatherings when possible

Learn more:

What we are doing to protect you (Health System)

Several key pillars of the public health response have been in place throughout the Public Health Emergency. They will remain as a safety net we can rely on. The following will remain in some capacity after the NWT Public Health Emergency.

Wastewater Surveillance

  • Wastewater testing is a sensitive and cost-effective way to detect, identify and inform public health actions to stop the spread of COVID-19. It can detect the virus even before people feel sick or get tested.

Rapid Testing

  • The target turnaround time for COVID-19 test results is within 24 hours of receiving the sample at the laboratory.

Targeted Screening

  • Tests are targeted toward people who are most likely to be positive for COVID-19 and where the impact of transmission could be detrimental.

Case Investigation and Timely Contact Tracing

  • In a case investigation public health staff work with a  person who has COVID-19 to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious. Contacts are people who interacted with a person with a COVID-19 infection and are at higher risk of acquiring COVID-19 themselves. Sometimes, out of caution, it is necessary to consider everyone who was at the same location or event as a person with COVID-19 as contacts. It is important that these people are contacted quickly to reduce spread.

Rapid Response Team

  • In an outbreak, or if community spread happens, case investigations and contact tracing will quickly overwhelm local public health capacity and compromise an effective response. The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority's COVID-19 Response Team’s (ACRT) brings together leads from clinical, operations, and logistics areas from across the three health and social services authorities.

Healthcare System Capacity

  • The NWT has carefully planned for how it will manage patients with COVID-19 who require hospital care. The NWT health and social services system is limited compared to southern provinces that have larger populations.

Safety Net Quizzes

The following quizzes can help you put careful and purposeful thought into evaluating risk or learning more about how certain safety nets are useful.