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Coronavirus
Politics

Premier calls for kindness but consequences over Covid-19 rules


The Premier of the Northwest Territories on Sunday called for “compassion and kindness” as Yellowknife faces fresh cases of Covid-19, but said rule-breakers should be held to account.

In an unprompted statement emailed to newsrooms, Premier Caroline Cochrane said six new cases in Yellowknife this week represented a “stark reminder of how quickly our pandemic situation … could easily change if we let our guard down.”

Cochrane wrote: “The pandemic is not over. And no matter what, we all need to follow the isolation and public health orders to ensure we are protecting our communities and loved ones.

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“There is no excuse for not following the orders. I want to be clear that there are consequences when people don’t follow them.”

The premier’s remarks come after her legislature colleague Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, this week said he and a family member had contracted Covid-19. It later emerged that Norn had visited the NWT legislature one day before his isolation period was due to expire. A security guard at the legislature is isolating as a result.

Meanwhile, exposure advisories related to the same set of cases exist for a restaurant and a two-night bonfire on the outskirts of the city. Public health is tracking contacts at École St Patrick High School and the Racquet Club gym after potential exposure at each location, again connected to the same cases.

Norn has not commented since an initial statement and interview on Friday morning in which he said he had followed isolation rules.

“As you are aware, several students and teachers are self-isolating because of the confirmed case at St Patrick’s High School, along with multiple other residents from two local businesses,” said Cochrane on Sunday. She appeared to be referring to the gym and Taste of Saigon restaurant.

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“This is a situation that we hoped we would be able to avoid during this pandemic. However, that is not the case. And while we are not out of the woods just yet – this unfortunate situation is a reminder that residents need to continue to get vaccinated.

“We need to achieve herd protection – especially when it comes to insulating our children from the virus until the health community deems it safe. We have a responsibility to protect them.”

The premier added: “As I have said before, it’s important during these moments that we practise compassion, kindness, and express empathy, especially for those who have Covid-19. If there is anything that this pandemic has shown us, it is that we can and will handle every challenge with the strength of our community behind us.”

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