The NWT’s public health emergency has been extended for the 13th time, with health officials warning the risk to the territory posed by Covid-19 is increasing.
Citing record levels of transmission in neighbouring jurisdictions, the territorial government on Tuesday said “the extension of the public health emergency is necessary in order to respond decisively.”
This is the first time the emergency has been extended by new health minister Julie Green, who took over the role from Diane Thom on September 4.
The emergency will remain in place through September 29 at the earliest.
Declaring a public health emergency gives the chief public health officer the powers being used to restrict travel and impose self-isolation measures in the NWT.
The restrictions are meant to limit the pandemic’s impact on the territory and protect small communities, where healthcare facilities are not as well-equipped to cope with an outbreak.
Territorial legislation requires that the emergency either be renewed or scrapped at two-week intervals.
There appears to be little likelihood of the emergency being cancelled in the near future. The NWT will require some form of emergency powers until the end of phase three of its recovery plan – a phase the territory has yet to enter.
Under the current plan, a vaccine or effective treatment for Covid-19 will be required before all emergency powers can be stood down.