The NWT government will on Thursday brief reporters on the ending of the territory’s public health emergency. All pandemic-related restrictions are scheduled to lift on April 1, 2022.
Numbers of Covid-19 cases remain significant in many parts of the world, including the NWT. There are more than 600 active cases in the territory, mostly split between the Beaufort Delta and Yellowknife.
In an advisory issued on Wednesday, the territory said Thursday’s 11am briefing would be carried out using the Microsoft Teams video conferencing service, and not in person.
The territorial government has maintained that now is the right time to lift restrictions, some two years after the pandemic’s onset in the NWT.
“The public health emergency will end – but Covid-19 will still be part of our everyday lives,” Premier Caroline Cochrane said on Tuesday.
Cochrane said her government and its healthcare system would be capable of supporting communities when future outbreaks occur.
Territorial data shows recent spikes of Covid-19 infection in both Inuvik and Yellowknife, in each instance appearing to follow sporting events or related travel.
How that data is reported will change from next week.
The territory says most data will be updated weekly from April 4 instead of daily or several times weekly as is presently the case. Vaccination data will be updated monthly.
“Due to the significant decrease expected in testing and test reporting after the removal of all public health orders, it is important to recognize that case counts reported will no longer be an exact representation of Covid-19 data,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola’s office warned.
“Due to the small populations of many NWT communities, it will no longer be possible to detail individual case counts for many communities due to privacy considerations.”
In keeping with the territory’s message that residents must assess and manage their own risk from April onward, the NWT will use a regional traffic-light system to indicate perceived Covid-19 risk.
Green will mean few or no local cases and no unexplained detection of Covid-19 in sewage. Yellow will indicate unexplained detection in sewage samples and red will mean significant numbers of locally acquired cases.