The Kátł’odeeche First Nation is the latest NWT community to put extra safety measures in place because of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Yellowknife.
Road access to the Hay River Dene Reserve will now be closed until further notice for anyone who is not a resident of the reserve, a First Nation member, or an essential worker.
“This step is being taken proactively to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 given the uncertainty over the outbreaks in Yellowknife and northern Alberta, and the significant travel that occurs between these jurisdictions and the Hay River area,” the First Nation said in a news release.
As of Tuesday evening there were 20 confirmed and seven probable cases of Covid-19 in Yellowknife. More than 1,000 people are considered contacts of an outbreak at the city’s NJ Macpherson School.
The First Nation’s latest statement follows similar moves by other smaller communities in the territory.
The Deninu Kųę́ First Nation in Fort Resolution earlier said it would reinstate a “highway monitoring stop”.
As of April 29, Fort Providence had interim travel guidelines that discourage non-essential travel from Yellowknifers and ask residents returning from the city to closely follow public health guidelines.
The hamlet’s Snowshoe Café and the nearby hotel, office and lounge say anyone entering must now wear masks.
Speaking to Cabin Radio on Monday, Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels said the community may place an information centre – possibly in the form of a booth – on its access road.
Earlier in the week, Premier Caroline Cochrane told reporters communities are not allowed to set up checkpoints that prevent NWT residents entering a community.
At a news conference on Monday, Cochrane said she knows “some communities are afraid” but RCMP were the only organization allowed to conduct a check stop.
“However, communities are looking at giving people information, and that is appropriate to help share the message to actually inform people,” she said.
The territorial government reiterated on Tuesday that all non-essential travel to and from Yellowknife, Dettah, Ndilǫ, and Behchokǫ̀ should be avoided.