Effective at 5 p.m. on June 21, vaccinated residents, non-resident essential service workers and other travellers with exemptions who are fully vaccinated no longer need to self-isolate upon entry to the NWT.
Everyone is still required to submit a Self-isolation Plan for possible contact tracing.
Chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Kami Kandola’s recommendation against travel for only essential reasons has also been lifted.
If people have received their vaccine in the NWT, they will not require proof of vaccination. If NWT residents have travelled outside Canada, all federal requirements must be met before coming back to the territory.
For people who have not received their vaccine in the NWT, proof of vaccination status must be shown upon request. It is recommended those travellers have that available before applying to travel to the NWT, along with their Self-Isolation Plan.
People who are partially vaccinated must still self-isolate for at least eight days, with a negative COVID-19 test on the eighth day.
People who are unvaccinated, including children under 12 years of age, must self-isolate for at least 10 days with a day-10 negative test. Children under two won’t have to get a test on day 10 but only isolate until then.
For people travelling from outside the territory to a small community, and for some essential workers a test on day one and day 14 are needed. For mixed households who are travelling together, only the least vaccinated travellers must be tested.
These reduced self-isolation requirements also apply to non-residents that have been granted permission to travel into the NWT by an exemption process. That includes people coming in for work, study, to reunite with family or for compassionate reasons.
Household members must follow the same self-isolation guidance as the traveller, regardless of their vaccination status. If vaccination status differs for multiple travellers, the rest of the household must isolate for the longest period. This requirement is based on evidence indicating that extended and prolonged close contact with someone with COVID-19, such as in a household setting, increases transmission. No testing is required for household members unless symptomatic.
This change to self-isolation requirements is a key step in Emerging Wisely 2021: Step by Step Together released to the public on June 9.
The plan states that for self-isolation rules to be eased, the partial vaccination rate in Canada must reach 66 to 75 per cent and the seven-day average case count of COVID-19 infections must fall below 1,000.
The percentage of Canadians over 12 years of age who have received at least one vaccine dose was at 73.44 per cent on June 21, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
The number of COVID-19 infections in Canada was 712 on June 20, PHAC said.
“As vaccination rates rise in the NWT and across Canada, we’ll continue to see case counts drop and restrictions eased,” said Kandola. “Residents and communities must now take personal responsibility to evaluate their own risk and make informed decisions.”
Premier Caroline Cochrane said the NWT’s self-isolation requirements have been one of the pillars of the territory’s pandemic response.
“We have always said that we would ease public health measures when it was safe to do so,” she said. “With vaccination uptake strong in the NWT, and having reached our target national vaccination rates and new daily cases outlined in Emerging Wisely 2021, we are now able to ease these restrictions for residents and some visitors.”
Health Minister Julie Green said that the data in Emerging Wisely 2021 shows residents can now travel for non-essential reasons while their self-isolation requirements are reduced or eliminated.
“With this plan, we can look forward to eventually eliminating all current public health restrictions,” she said.
The GNWT advises residents to be familiar with the public health orders in the jurisdiction they visit and to be aware of locations where COVID-19 infections are increasing, especially those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.