Chief public health officer confirms NWT’s first Covid-19 death

Last modified: August 24, 2021 at 1:37pm

A Fort Good Hope Elder has become the first person in the Northwest Territories to pass away from Covid-19.

In a statement, the territory’s chief public health officer confirmed the death of an individual in the Northwest Territories late on Monday evening.

Though the person was not formally identified, CBC North Slavey host Leitha Kochon told the broadcaster her father, 92-year-old Gabe Kochon, had passed away.


Chief of Fort Good Hope Tommy Kakfwi said Gabe was a “well-respected” member of the community who had fallen ill shortly after his wife’s passing.

“We lost this man and a whole library of information that lived with him. The stories – a whole catalogue of them. He was very knowledgeable,” said Chief Kakfwi.

“He was a relative, a friend, a storyteller. He was all of those things.”

Dr Kandola said in a statement: “My thoughts are with the person’s family, friends, and community. At a time, when we are trying to keep an entire population healthy, this death reminds us that individuals are at the heart of this effort.

“Our office knows that the memories of the person who died will weave into the collective memories of their loved ones and live on.”


Prince Edward Island is now the only Canadian jurisdiction yet to have recorded a fatality related to Covid-19. The NWT’s first death comes 522 days after the territory’s first reported case of Covid-19.

Across the country, almost 27,000 Canadians have now died after contracting Covid-19. Some 1.5 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded nationwide to date.

In the NWT, there were 220 active cases of the disease as of Monday.

In a joint statement, Premier Caroline Cochrane and health minister Julie Green said they extended their “sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of the resident who passed away.”


“Our hearts go out to you in this challenging, and difficult time,” Cochrane and Green wrote.

“We know this is hard, but please know that we grieve with you, and so do residents across the Northwest Territories.”

Green recently expressed concern that the present outbreak could grow to encompass more communities. Fort Providence is now reporting one case of Covid-19 and the territorial government urged people to get tested in specific instances after the virus turned up in sewage samples from Behchokǫ̀, where no cases have so far been recorded.

Meaghan Brackenbury contributed reporting.