The Covid-19 gatherings order in place for Yellowknife, Dettah, and N’dilǫ as well as the containment order in Behchokǫ̀ are being extended, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) announced on Oct. 14.

These communities will have their orders extended until Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. due to the ongoing community transmission of Covid-19.

There are multiple workplace and institutional outbreaks in addition to high-risk exposures that continue to create public health risk, according to the OCPHO.

As for the currently closed schools, assuming that Covid case numbers decrease and things look better by Oct. 22, the possibility exists for a Oct. 25 reopening of schools.

“Barring no unanticipated large-scale outbreak, we are expecting that the gathering order for Yellowknife, Dettah, and N’dilǫ and the containment order (for Behchokǫ̀) will be complete Oct. 22 of 5 p.m.,” said Dr. Kami Kandola. “Schools should be open Monday, Oct. 25.”

As well, the OCPHO is announcing “the intention” of introducing a new public health order when the extended temporary restrictions end next week.

The upcoming order will introduce a new territory-wide gatherings limit with a maximum of 25 people indoors and no more than 50 people outdoors.

The new order will also include a proof of vaccination option as a way to mitigate risk within non-essential businesses and organizations.

This option would allow for larger gatherings, with less distancing, “as long as those that are eligible to receive a vaccine can provide proof of vaccination.”

This means that those who are ineligible (such as children under the age of 12) would still be able to participate in these activities and enter these businesses.

Health Minister Julie Green said there haven’t been any major problems with people acquiring their proof of vaccination, but she admitted that there have been instances of the system being “fussy.”

“I have heard that people have had to try, in some cases, try multiple times to fill in the form,” said Green. “The form is very fussy that your name is exactly as it is on your health-care card.”

All non-essential businesses or organizations that wish to exceed the indoor 25-person limit, and outdoor 50-person, or wish to participate in high-risk activities, will need to apply or reapply for applications to vary from this new order.

A determination will still need to be made by the CPHO before proceeding with the new order, based on a risk evaluation done closer to Oct. 22.

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