Public Health Advisory - Updates to Public Health Orders - January 28, 2022

News Type: 
Past COVID-19 Advisories

YELLOWKNIFE January 28, 2022 -

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is announcing upcoming changes to Public Health Orders (PHOs) in the Northwest Territories (NWT). At 5:00PM on January 30, 2022 the Temporary Partial Suspension of Gatherings Order – Northwest Territories will expire. However, some elements will be included in the Amended NWT Gatherings Order outlined below.

The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) is announcing changes to the Northwest Territories COVID-19 Gatherings Order that will come into effect at 5:00PM on January 30, 2022. The updates include the following restrictions:

  • Households will be limited to no more than 10 people indoors at one time with a maximum of five (5) non-household members allowed.
  • Establishments, like restaurants, bars and lounges, which serve alcohol, will no longer have table limits but no mingling of guests between tables or groups will be allowed.
  • Activities outlined in section “f”, and listed below, of the Amended NWT Gatherings Order can resume under previously approved CPHO permissions to vary as set out in, and which have been issued under, the PHO – NORTHWEST TERRITORIES COVID-19 GATHERINGS ORDER (effective October 22, 2021).
    • indoor dancing
    • indoor singing
    • indoor playing of wind and brass instruments
    • traditional hand games
    • indoor contact sports
    • indoor high intensity fitness classes
    • indoor winter sports
    • indoor swimming

Persons may direct inquiries about public health orders to ProtectNWT at protectNWT@gov.nt.ca or call 8-1-1 (in the Northwest Territories) or 1-833-378-8297. Full details and copies of the order will be available beginning at 5:00PM on January 30, 2022 on the GNWT COVID-19 website under the Current Public Health Orders section at www.gov.nt.ca/covid-19/en/current-public-health-orders.

APPLICATIONS TO VARY

The majority of previously approved and accepted applications to vary as set out in the October 22, 2021 Gatherings Order will be reinstated and be valid. Previously suspended activities such as sports leagues with approved applications to vary will be eligible to resume. If a previously approved application to vary will not be automatically reinstated a Public Health Officer has or will contact that business, organization or group.

UPDATED RECOMMENDATIONS

Beginning Monday, January 31, 2022 the CPHO recommendation to work from home for employees and remote learning in schools for Fort Smith and Inuvik will be lifted. Employees in these communities are encouraged to return to workplaces and schools are eligible to resume in person learning.

SET YOUR SAFETY NETS

It is important that residents continue to take actions that increase their level of protection against acquiring a COVID-19 infection and prevent severe health outcomes. Being up to date with vaccines provides the best protection against severe health outcomes even if a breakthrough infection occurs. 

Because immunity provided by vaccines or previous infections wanes over time, even two doses are only partially protective against severe outcomes by the sixth month after the second dose. A third dose of mRNA vaccine received around that time provides a strong boost to that protection, with current data showing 90% reduction in the risk of Omicron hospitalizations. 

The booster dose lives up to its name! For residents that are not up to date with their vaccinations or if more than six (6) months have passed since your second dose of vaccine, please consider booking an appointment for your first, second or booster dose of vaccine.

COVID-19 is not going away. As we all continue to learn about COVID we must improve our ability to make decisions about our own personal acceptable level of risk and also consider how these decisions impact others in our families and communities.

EXPOSURE NOTIFICATIONS

Due to the increasing number of exposure sites within the NWT the OCPHO is announcing the following changes to what is listed to the Public Exposure Notifications page on the GNWT’s COVID-19 website moving forward.

  • Communities where there is evidence of onset or ongoing community transmission will be identified on the exposures page and individual exposures will no longer be listed for those communities except in rare circumstances.
  • Introductions in classrooms and child care facilities will no longer be listed; outbreaks will be added to the exposure notifications page.
  • Outbreaks at long term care facilities will continue to be added to the exposure notification page.

Self-Isolation Plans (SIP)

Residents and non-residents are reminded that SIPs remain a requirement for anyone entering the NWT. Non-residents are required to have an accepted SIP prior to arrival at NWT entry points. Residents have 24 hours after returning to the NWT to submit a SIP to ProtectNWT, but are recommended to submit ahead of time. SIPs can be submitted through the GNWT’s COVID-19 website

Attribution

All commentary is attributable to Dr. André Corriveau, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.

Media Contact

Richard Makohoniuk
Manager, COVID Communications
COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
richard_makohoniuk@gov.nt.ca