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'We need to achieve herd protection' so get vaccine, NWT premier says


Premier Caroline Cochrane said Sunday she wants to protect the herd.

Shortly after the public health officials announced the latest case of COVID-19 in Yellowknife Sunday, Cochrane called on residents to get vaccinated.

Premier Caroline Cochrane said Sunday that NWT residents need to get vaccinated and children must be protected.
NNSL file photo

“The last few days have been a stark reminder of how quickly our pandemic situation in the Northwest Territories (NWT) could easily change if we let our guard down," she said.

As of Sunday at noon, there were eight active cases of the virus in the NWT, with six in Yellowknife and two in Fort Smith.

“This has been no easy task," she said.

"Limiting the spread of COVID-19 takes the effort of everyone in the NWT to make it happen. Unlike our provincial counterparts, we have been fortunate enough to escape the multiple waves of rising cases that continue to have a significant impact on our southern neighbours."

The confirmed case from earlier this week affecting Yellowknife's St. Patrick High School has led to several students and teachers as well as multiple other residents from two others having to get self-isolated.

“This is a situation that we hoped we would be able to avoid during this pandemic," she said.

"However, that is not the case. And while we are not out of the woods just yet – this unfortunate situation is a reminder that residents need to continue to get vaccinated."

Cochrane said it is critical that the NWT achieve herd protection especially when it comes to protecting children under 18 who are unable to receive the vaccine.

“We have a responsibility to protect them," she said.

"Our youth are the future of the Northwest Territories, and until such time as people under the age of 18 are approved by Health Canada to get the vaccine, we all must do our part to protect them. "

The NWT has been able to consider easing restrictions but the Premier reminded residents that the pandemic is not over and there will be repercussions for people who don't follow public health orders.

“No matter what, we all need to follow the isolation and public health orders to ensure we are protecting our communities and loved ones," she said. "There is no excuse for not following the orders. I want to be clear that there are consequences when people don’t follow them."

Show compassion, kindness and empathy

Cochrane also reminded residents to practice compassion, kindness and empathy, particularly towards those who have COVID-19.

“If there is anything that this pandemic has shown us, it is that we can and will handle every challenge with the strength of our community behind us," she said.

“A big part of our success has been the huge efforts of residents, businesses, and leaders – and part of that success has been how we have supported one another through this pandemic. Please remember this in the coming days and weeks."