As Alberta prepares to relax some of its COVID-19 restrictions, the NWT’s acting chief public health officer Dr. André Corriveau is stressing the importance of increasing vaccination rates.

Effective Aug. 16, individuals in Alberta who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer have to isolate, provincial mandatory masking orders will be lifted and isolation hotels and quarantine support will be discontinued, according to the Alberta government portal.

Testing for COVID-19 will be limited to symptomatic cases and after Aug. 31 will take place only in primary care settings.

READ HERE: Adapting COVID-19 measures to support Albertans

Those changes will follow others that became effective on July 29, such as quarantine for close contacts of COVID-19 cases shifting from mandatory to recommended and contact tracers no longer notifying close contacts of possible coronavirus exposure. Positive cases will still be notified, however.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the new protocols come as the province moves to managing COVID-19 through vaccinations and health measures used for other communicable diseases.

“We expect to see increased influenza and other viruses this year, and these changes will make sure the health system is ready and able to support all Albertans in the months ahead,” Hinshaw said.

Despite the close travel, medical and business links between the NWT and Alberta, and potential higher risks Northern residents could face when travelling south, Corriveau said he isn’t considering a return to tighter restrictions in the territory.

Asked specifically what advice he has for NWT residents travelling to Alberta, he emphasized that vaccination is the best option as it provides “very good” protection against severe outcomes that would lead to hospitalization and reduces the transmissibility of the virus.

“We need 75 per cent of the NWT population over 18 fully vaccinated in order to meet the threshold set in Emerging Wisely 2021 and we are getting there quickly. It is important to remember 75 per cent is a minimum goal. We really want to see as many people as possible to protect themselves with vaccine,” he said. “Without a doubt, vaccination is the best protection. Most particularly for unvaccinated individuals, personal protective measures like masking, reducing contacts, making careful choices about travel and gatherings, and careful self-monitoring, as well as getting tested if sick at all will remain critical.”

Seventy-two per cent of eligible NWT residents have been vaccinated and 77 per cent were partially vaccinated as of Aug 2, according to the GNWT’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

SEE MORE: COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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  1. They “need” more numbers to meet the threshold. Just have to point out we have once met the threshold, Kandola disagreed and decided to take her own route despite making original threshold.

    Trust factor = low