Updates to Self-Isolation Protocols Effective Immediately

News Type: 

Entire household must self-isolate for 14-days with returning travelers unless they have self-contained suite. Non-essential travel outside of NWT strongly discouraged.

YELLOWKNIFE 18 November 2020 – In light of record-levels of COVID-19 cases across Canada, the NWT Chief Public Health Officer is making changes to self-isolation guidance for travelers returning from outside the NWT. 

These new rules are not retroactive. They apply to all travelers and their households arriving after the issuing of this Public Health Advisory on November 18.

All household members must self-isolate

Unless there is a self-contained suite separate from living space in the house in which an individual returning from travel can self-isolate including:

  • Entrance
  • Kitchen
  • Bedroom  
  • Bathroom

Everyone in the household must self-isolate if anyone in the household returns from travel.

This means no going to school, work, visits, or running errands for the entire household for 14 days.   

Travelers will need to plan accordingly with their household and outline in their self-isolation plan how they will either self-isolate in a different location from the rest of their household, in a self-contained suite, or that household members will be self-isolating with them.

This replaces all previous guidance indicating travelers could self-isolate in their home with others if a physical distance of at-least two metres was maintained at all times.

Changes for resident essential workers

Workers who have not travelled but who have travelers self-isolating in their homes must:

Approval by the Chief Public Health Officer is required.

Employees should work with their employers to complete this process through Protect NWT.

Exempted non-resident workers remain the same

Self-isolation and application requirements for supply-chain workers, essential workers, airline crews and employees, remote camp workers, and non-remote camp workers have not changed at this time.

Non-Essential Travel Discouraged

We are continuing to remind everyone that non-essential travel out of the Northwest Territories is not recommended in order to avoid COVID-19 high risk areas.

Today, the daily cases in Canada are double what where occurring in the first wave.

Recent models have indicated Canada’s daily caseload could rise to more than 10,000 by early-December.

The risk is higher than ever of contracting COVID-19 while you travel – so please try and avoid travel unless you absolutely must. 

If you must travel, be mindful of COVID-19 restrictions at your destination, and do your part to stick to healthy habits we know work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – both for those around you at your destination, and to better protect the residents of the Northwest Territories from COVID-19 when you return.  

Out-of-Territory Exposures

Be aware that high volumes of cases across Canada produces significant delays in notification to individuals exposed to COVID-19.

As a traveler you may not receive notification of exposure to COVID-19 from the local public health authority in which you were exposed by the time you have traveled back to the NWT.

This makes being a responsible self-isolator when you return even more important – because even if you are feeling well, you may still transmit COVID-19 to others, and you may not know you have been exposed.

Healthy Habits

To keep yourself and others safe, stick to these healthy habits:

  • Prioritize physical distance of at least six feet.
  • Wear a non-medical mask when you’re out.
  • Keep crowds small and spaces large. 
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick – even if it’s mild.
  • Get assessed for COVID-19 testing if you have any symptoms.
  • Be a responsible self-isolator whenever required.

Until there is an effective, available treatment or vaccine, there will always be risk. But we can always take some control over our risk by keeping on top of these practices every day.


All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer.

Relevant links

Media Contact

Mike Westwick

Manager, COVID-19 Communications

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat