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Coronavirus

Canada approaches threshold that loosens NWT isolation rules


The number of daily new Covid-19 cases nationwide has almost dropped far enough to trigger a loosening of isolation rules in the Northwest Territories, the latest data suggests.

In a Saturday night update, The Canadian Press – quoting federal data – put the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases across Canada at 1,003. The NWT has said that figure must dip below 1,000 before isolation restrictions loosen.

A second criterion – that Canada as a whole must reach a partial vaccination rate of at least 66 percent was met earlier this month.

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Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, has been clear that the territory’s newly updated Emerging Wisely pandemic recovery plan is based on statistical targets and changes will be made as those targets are met.

Unveiling the updated plan on June 9, Dr Kandola predicted the targets attached to an easing of isolation measures would be met within the following two weeks.

Canada’s falling seven-day average for new Covid-19 cases could see Kandola announce a lifting of isolation rules for fully vaccinated NWT residents in the coming few days. It’s not clear whether the territory would wait for the holiday weekend to end or make an immediate announcement should the seven-day average drop below 1,000.

It is, however, possible that the emergence of new variants could yet see that average increase again in the near future.

For more than a year, a 14-day isolation period has been a requirement for anyone entering the NWT following travel outside its borders. In recent months, travellers meeting certain criteria have been able to leave isolation after eight days if they receive a negative Covid-19 test.

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The changes set to be triggered would do away with those rules in favour of a system where fully vaccinated NWT residents need not isolate at all after travel.

That change would apply to NWT residents who are fully vaccinated and essential workers, but would not apply to non-residents.

Freedom for non-residents to enter the territory without isolating is only due to happen once the NWT has 75-percent full vaccination, according to the new Emerging Wisely. (The current NWT figure is 63 percent.)

NWT residents who are only partially vaccinated will have to isolate for eight days then receive a negative Covid-19 test, even once isolation is lifted for NWT residents with full vaccination. If you’re not vaccinated, you’ll need to isolate for 10 days on your return to the NWT, as will your household.

Parents of unvaccinated children aged under 12 – for whom no approved vaccine is available – will be obliged to isolate for 10 days with their children after travelling outside the NWT.

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