Coronavirus in the NWT: how to monitor yourself, how to get tested

Last modified: March 14, 2020 at 3:14pm

The NWT government published a new guide to help residents monitor themselves for coronavirus symptoms, urging anyone with concerns about their health to call ahead if requesting a test.

The test is near-identical to that for flu – a swab sent to Alberta for analysis. Preliminary results come back in three to four days, with confirmation three days later.

However, you shouldn’t just head to a health centre to get a test.


“The most important information we want to get across is that people with symptoms who are seeking information on testing need to call ahead to our facilities in advance,” said David Maguire, a spokesperson for the NWT’s health authority.

The new self-monitoring guide walks you through the symptoms to watch out for – and what to do if any of those symptoms develop.

As of 9am on Thursday, 54 tests had been carried out in the Northwest Territories and there were no confirmed cases. (The Department of Health and Social Services is keeping updated and timestamped numbers on its website.)

Extra resources are being diverted to help testing efforts. That means some other services in Yellowknife will be reduced – there’s a list lower down in this article.

To get a test, here’s what you need to do. This advice is direct from the NWT’s health authority:


Call Public Health at (867) 767-9120. There are dedicated nursing staff who will complete an intake questionnaire and provide details about where to get tested. There will be a dedicated testing site for Covid-19 testing. All residents who may need testing should first speak with Pubic Health before arrival.

Inuvik, Fort Smith, Hay River
Call Public Health to complete an intake questionnaire. Those who require testing will be visited for in-home testing.
Inuvik: (867) 777-7246
Fort Smith: (867) 872-6219 or (867) 872-6221
Hay River: 867-874-7201

All other NWT communities
Call your health centre directly for more information on local testing processes. Contact info is available here for each health centre.

Reduced services
In Yellowknife, healthcare service alterations are as follows:


  • Well-child appointments will continue but only for vaccinations. Others will be deferred to a later time. For parents with children due for vaccinations, appointments will continue but will be shortened.
  • Routine vaccination appointments are being reviewed and triaged based on priority. Those with rescheduled appointments will be contacted directly.
  • Breastfeeding clinics will be rescheduled, contact Public Health with any concerns in the interim.
  • All in-school programming and community group appearances are suspended until further notice.
  • HPV Programming for Grade 5 students will be rescheduled for June.

On Thursday, tours of the NWT’s legislature became the latest of the territory’s events and attractions to make alterations based on concerns about coronavirus. All tours of the legislature have now been suspended.

If you need more information, the NWT government has a very large Q&A here with answers to a wide range of questions, plus contact information.