As cases of Covid-19 rack up in Behchokǫ̀ and the community comes under containment order, GNWT leaders are calling on citizens to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already.
The latest update on the GNWT’s response was issued at 3:10 p.m. Sept. 9.
“Yesterday we said the NWT was at a critical moment in the pandemic,” said Premier Caroline Cochrane. “For residents of Behchokǫ̀, I want you to know the GNWT is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the community as much as possible.
“If we’ve learned anything from past experiences, when we come together and support one another through tough challenging times, that’s when we make a difference.”
She said the Covid-19 secretariat was providing six months’ worth of personal protective equipment and would be sending in three public health officers to enforce the public health order.
Cochrane was joined by Health and Social Services Minister Julie Green, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Minister Shane Thompson, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Monfwi MLA Jane Weyallon Armstrong, and Behchokǫ̀ Chief Clifford Daniels.
Green added she did not have information on the source of the Covid-19 outbreak in Behchokǫ̀. She said the GNWT had six health care workers in the community to test for the virus and the Canadian Red Cross had sent fourteen to the NWT to assist in the containment, with two currently working in Behchokǫ̀.
“The CPHO has taken decisive action to issue a containment order,” said Green. “We are confirming cases and we expect cases to increase today.”
Thompson said ENR has precautionary agreements with Canadian Rangers in the event the situation gets worse, but to date no request for assistance has been made.
Daniels said his community was dealing with very interesting times and that the community was working on preparing for larger numbers by preparing spaces in the public gymnasium.
“We must work together to keep all of us safe,” he said. “There will be food hampers as soon as we can get the supplies out to the people.
“There are help lines available for community residents to call if they have any questions. All the numbers are available on our Facebook page.”
Cochrane said that anyone travelling is obligated to enter a self-isolation plan, and because the GNWT was no longer able to trace every case coming through air traffic. So residents needed to take appropriate precautions.
“Even though the Delta region has been safe so far, that doesn’t mean there’s any guarantees,” she said. “So everyone has a responsibility to follow the directions of the chief public health officer.”
Under the containment orders, schools are currently operating on remote learning, non-essential businesses are closed and indoor gatherings are limited to 25 persons. The containment order will remain in place for at least 14 days.