The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is introducing new measures that reduce self-isolation requirements for travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, it is releasing the first set of regional and territorial COVID-19 vaccine coverage data on the NWT COVID-19 dashboard.
Reduction of self-isolation requirements
The self-isolation changes introduce the opportunity for testing on the eighth day of the 14-day self-isolation period for fully vaccinated persons entering the Northwest Territories (NWT). If those test results are negative for COVID-19, individuals will only be required to self-monitor and wear a mask for the remainder of the 14-day timeframe. They will no longer be required to self-isolate during that period. Changes will also reduce self-isolation requirements for household members.
The announcement comes after conducting an NWT-specific risk assessment. The assessment considers the high-risk profile of the NWT population due to its remoteness, and limited NWT health system capacity.
Results conclude that shorter isolation periods can take place to mitigate broader societal and economic costs of the pandemic. The determining factor is that fully vaccinated persons pose a significantly reduced importation risk to the NWT, which can be further mitigated by an initial seven-day isolation period and negative COVID-19 test.
The self-isolation requirement changes are applicable to all fully vaccinated travellers entering the NWT under existing exemption criteria. This is to ensure sufficient measures are taken to mitigate any possible spread of COVID-19, including variants of concern.
COVID-19 vaccine coverage data
With this first set of regional and territorial COVID-19 vaccine coverage data, overall, the Northwest Territories (NWT) is reporting 63% of adults have their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 51% are fully vaccinated with both doses. While these percentages are impressive given the complexity of COVID-19 vaccine delivery in the NWT, there is still more work that needs to be done to achieve optimal vaccination rates.
In the spirit of transparency and collaboration, community-specific vaccine coverage data has been shared with Indigenous and community leadership. Community-specific data will not be posted to the public dashboard in order to protect communities with low uptake from public criticism or stigma.
Vaccine coverage calculations exclude those with out-of-territory health care who were vaccinated in the NWT. Similar to COVID-19 case reporting, out-of-territory residents do not contribute to the NWT’s overall vaccine coverage.
The number of vaccine doses given across the territory will continue to be updated weekly on the COVID-19 website banner in line with reporting to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
“We have always been committed to relaxing restrictions when the evidence was there that we could do so in the safest manner possible. This change reflects the protection that is provided by vaccines, and I encourage all eligible adults to get vaccinated. It is the most effective weapon we have stop the spread of COVID-19. Though the NWT may be fortunate to be a leader in vaccinating residents, that doesn’t mean that our risk to bringing the virus into the territory is gone and we’ll need to wait for the rest of Canada to catch up to us.”
-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories and Minister Responsible for the COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat
“I am pleased to announce these changes to self-isolation requirements and the release of vaccine coverage data for the NWT. We can see in other jurisdictions that easing public health measures and getting a sufficient supply of vaccines for residents is not the norm. We are fortunate to be in a position today to continue to take steps forward to gradually reduce restrictions. I also hope the vaccine coverage data will reinforce that, while we have done an admirable job in our vaccine rollout, there is more work to do to ensure our communities are sufficiently protected against COVID-19.”
-Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services
“The NWT is in a unique situation today with our ability to take a careful, measured approach to easing public health measures and vaccinate all eligible members of our population. We must continue to be vigilant in our pandemic response as we work to increase vaccination rates across the NWT and keep COVID-19 at bay.”
-Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories
- Non-essential travel outside the NWT is still not recommended as there remains significant levels of COVID-19 activity across much of Canada.
- This change to self-isolation requirements will not apply to anyone entering the NWT from international travel. International travellers will still be required to follow the federal government’s quarantine rules even if fully vaccinated.
- For the purposes of this measure, people are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (such as Moderna) or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (such Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen).
- The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is reported to be 92% efficacious 14 days or more after the first dose, and 94% efficacious 14 days or more after the second dose.
- NTHSSA vaccination schedule
- NTHSSA online booking (Yellowknife)
- NTHSSA Testing
- Filing a self-isolation plan
- Applying for a Travel Exemption (non-residents)
Media Requests, please contact:
Manager, COVID-19 Communications
Health and Social Services
COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat Government of the Northwest Territories Darren_P_Campbell@gov.nt.ca