NWT renews public health emergency for 15th time

Julie Green, the NWT health minister, is pictured in September 2020
Julie Green, the NWT health minister, is pictured in September 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

The Northwest Territories formally extended its declaration of a public health emergency for the 15th time on Wednesday, citing a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases to the south.

Alberta – and southern Canada as a whole – are attempting to gain control of a recent surge in cases. The province of Alberta reported almost 2,700 active cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, in what looks increasingly like a second wave of the virus.

Extending the NWT’s public health emergency gives the chief public health officer the power to restrict travel and order self-isolation for people entering the territory, among other measures.

The extension must be ordered by the health minister. This extension will last until October 27.



“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated considerably across Canada in recent weeks as the country’s caseload surged to its highest point in the pandemic,” said the territory in a statement.

Confirmation of each extension – territorial legislation demands a public health emergency be either renewed or cancelled every two weeks – has become a perfunctory ritual performed by the GNWT in a short statement. There is no chance of the emergency ending in the foreseeable future.

“The public health emergency is required to continue to decisively respond to shifts in the NWT’s own public health situation and maintain preventative measures,” Wednesday’s statement concluded.