A year of COVID-19 in the NWT

Illustration of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2, the cause of COVID-19. (Supplied by Alissa Eckert.)
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Almost a year ago to the day, the NWT reported its first case of COVID-19.

The first case was declared on March 21.

Since then, 42 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the territory. Five NWT residents have caught the virus outside the territory. And 27 non-resident workers have been diagnosed with coronavirus

NWT has seen travel restrictions, outbreaks and exposure risks.

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While the second and potentially third wave continues to lead to shutdowns in the rest of the country, it has been more than three weeks since the NWT’s last COVID-19 case.

The territory has the fewest cases of any jurisdiction in Canada.

If the NWT was a country, it would have the thirteenth fewest total cases in the world.

But now as more than a third of people of adults in the territory are fully vaccinated, finally there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

There has been an endless barrage of news during the pandemic. Here are the biggest stories from the past year, charting the NWT’s year of COVID-19.

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March 9, 2020 — Coronavirus concerns have led to the cancellation of the Arctic Winter Games. The cancellation came on the recommendation of the Yukon’s acting chief medical office.

March 15 — Dr. Theresa Tham, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has asked Canadians to cancel international travel and isolate for 14-days when re-entering the country.

March 20 — Workers at Ekati Diamond mine have been sent home.

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March 21 — A public health emergency has been declared in the NWT.

March 21 — The NWT confirms its first COVID-19 case.

March 22 — All travel into the NWT has now been prohibited for non-NWT residents.

NWT’s CPHO Dr. Kami Kandola. (Photo by Bailey Moreton/MyTrueNorthNow.com.)

March 25 — Schools throughout the NWT have been closed for the remainder of the school year.

March 27 — The GNWT has declared a state of emergency.

April 5 — NWT reports its fifth case of COVID-19.

April 8 — The Covid enforcement task force is announced.

April 11 — The federal government passes a $70 billion wage subsidy, in addition to the Canada Emergency response benefit already in effect for those who have lost their jobs.

June 5 — Nationwide, unemployment rate reaches its highest rate since 1982.

June 9 — Canadians who aren’t allowed into the territory may travel now, but must self-isolate for 14 days. 

August 21 — CPHO approves reopening plan for all 49 schools in the NWT. 

September 3 — Premier Caroline Cochrane announces the creation of the Covid Secretariat.

September 23 — Justin Trudeau says the second wave has begun. 

November 16Nunavut shuts down as a COVID-19 outbreak is declared in several communities.

November 17 — The Northern travel buble with Nunavut is suspended

November 30 — The GNWT starts to plan for distributing vaccines:

December 1 — GNWT announces they won’t pay for isolation stays for non-essential travel: 

December 8 — Masks mandatory in municipal buildings in Hay River and other communities. 

December 9Wastewater testing finds traces of COVID-19 in Hay River and Yellowknife:

December 23 — The Moderna vaccine is approved for use in Canada. 

The first shipment of the Moderna vaccines arriving in the NWT. (Supplied by GNWT.)

December 28 — The first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrive in NWT.

December 31 — Seniors at Avens Manor in Yellowknife and a long-term care home in Behchoko the first to receive the vaccine.

January 4, 2021 — GNWT says its keeping an eye out for newly detected COVID-19 variants, which are first spotted in the UK.

January 6, 2021 — GNWT releases its vaccine strategy.

January 18, 2021 — Fort Liard shuts down as a cluster of cases spread through the community.

February 3, 2021 — A COVID-19 outbreak at the Gahcho Kue, leads to operations shutting down at the mine.

February 17, 2021 — The first NWT residents receive their second doses of the vaccine.

March 5, 2021 — Residents 50-years and older who live in hub communities allowed to receive their vaccine. 

March 10, 2021 — All Yellowknife adults can now receive the vaccine

March 10, 2021 — Flags at half mast for one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared as a global pandemic

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