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All household members must now isolate following out-of-NWT travel

Chief public health officer Kami Kandola speaks during the press conference on Tuesday. screengrab image

All members of a household must isolate for 14 days if any member of the home travels outside the NWT from now on.

Chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Kami Kandola made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Individuals who are self-isolating cannot go to school, work, pay visits or run errands for the entire 14 days.

The new public advisory comes as cases of Covid-19 across Canada exceed the levels of the first wave, said chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Wednesday. GNWT image
The new isolation public advisory comes as cases of Covid-19 across Canada are double the number of the first wave, said chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Wednesday. GNWT image

The exception to the new rule is if a house has a self-contained suite separate from the living space in the house where someone can self-isolate and that has an entrance, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

Travellers must plan with the members of their household and outline in their self-isolation plan how they will either self-isolate in a different location from the rest of the household, in a self-contained suite, or state that household members will be self-isolating with them.

The new advisory replaces all previous guidance that travellers could self-isolate in their home with others if a physical distance of at-least two metres was maintained at all times.

Resident essential workers who have not travelled but who have travellers self-isolating in their homes must complete a worker’s self-isolation plan, have their employer apply for permission to work during the 14-day self-isolation period and receive approval from the CPHO.

Rules on self-isolation and application requirements for supply-chain workers, essential workers, airline crews and employees, remote camp workers, and non-remote camp workers remain the same as before.

Non-essential travel strongly discouraged

Kandola urged that non-essential travel outside the NWT should be avoided unless it's absolutely necessary because the risk of contracting Covid during travel is higher than ever.

"Today, the daily cases in Canada are double what where occurring in the first wave," Kandola said. "Recent models have indicated Canada’s daily caseload could rise to more than 10,000 by early December."

If residents decide they must travel, they should be aware of Covid restrictions at their destination and stick to healthy practices known to to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

High volumes of Covid cases across Canada lead to significant delays in notification to individuals exposed to the virus, Kandola added.

"As a traveller, you may not receive notification of exposure to Covid-19 from the local public health authority in which you were exposed by the time you have travelled back to the NWT. This makes being a responsible self-isolator when you return even more important – because even if you are feeling well, you may still transmit Covid-19 to others, and you may not know you have been exposed," she said.