The Territorial Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency have been extended in the Northwest Territories. Both extensions takes effect as of April 15, 2020 and expire April 28, 2020.
Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services extended the territory-wide Public Health Emergency which was first extended on April 1 under the Northwest Territories’ Public Health Act.
Premier Caroline Cochrane, in her capacity of Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs extended the territory-wide state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act.
These extensions are due to the continued need for response to the COVID-19 global pandemic to protect public health in the Northwest Territories.
The Public Health Emergency was extended on the recommendation of Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola.
The declaration of a Public Health Emergency allows the Chief Public Health Officer to take strong, binding actions to protect all Northwest Territories residents, and swiftly respond to the daily evolving needs of the healthcare system as it tackles a pandemic.
Dr. Kandola has instituted a ban on indoor gatherings, limited outside get-togethers to less than 10 people with strict social distancing of two metres maintained, ordered the closure of certain businesses and issued strict guidance to those wishing to remain open, and ordered processes and procedures for continued operation at remote work camps in the NWT. The extension of the Public Health Emergency allows for the appropriate implementation of these new health protection measures.
Thus far, the Northwest Territories has only imported cases related to travel with no evidence of community spread.
Keeping ahead of the spread is the best way to stay as close to this trajectory possible, and is one way to limit the time strict measures are required for NWT residents.
Dr. Kandola has indicated she will continue to recommend extensions to the Public Health Emergency until the situation has changed considerably across Canada.
Nationwide spread is the biggest risk of expanding spread within the Northwest Territories.
The extension of the State of Emergency has been made in order to ensure the Emergency Management Organization (EMO) continues to be in a position to support the orders issued by the Chief Public Health Officer. Extending the State of Emergency does not indicate a significant change in circumstances or an increased risk to the people of the NWT.
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) continues to enhance our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an ongoing effort to protect the health of the residents of the Northwest Territories.
All residents are reminded to follow these orders and advice from the Chief Public Health Officer during this challenging time.