A territory-wide Public Health Emergency has been declared by he Minister of Health and Social Services, Diane Thom under the Northwest Territories Public Health Act in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic to protect public health in the NWT.
The Public Health Emergency was declared upon the recommendation of Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola, and is in effect from March 18th through April 1st.
The GNWT stated that the purpose of calling an emergency is to allow the CPHO to take strong, binding actions to protect all NWT residents, and swiftly respond to the daily-evolving needs of the healthcare system as it tackles a pandemic.
At this time, Kandola notes that she is focusing efforts on controlling the spread over the next 60 days and that this is the most crucial period as the territory works to slow spread, flatten the curve, and keep our residents safe.
The public health emergency covers the entirety of the NWT and will provide expanded powers to the Chief Public Health Officer to:
- authorize qualified people to provide additional aid and services as needed;
- expedite emergency licensing of additional health care providers;
- make orders and provide directions restricting or prohibiting travel to or from any area within the NWT;
- coordinate and provide for the delivery of medical services;
- procure and provide for the distribution of medical supplies and equipment across the NWT;
Public Health Emergencies may last up-to 14 days, however, if the risk to public health remains, the Minister may re-declare a Public Health Emergency, as often as necessary.