Along with the easing of restrictions on outdoor gatherings in the NWT, the updated Emerging Wisely plan outlines upcoming changes to self isolation requirements and travel restrictions.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola says the self-isolation period for fully vaccinated travellers entering the NWT may be eliminated by early summer.
“If first dose vaccination rates increase across Canada, and the average case count nationally is under 1000 cases per day, the recommendation advising against non essential travel for NWT residents would be rescinded,” she adds.
Kandola says she anticipates that Canada will reach that seven day daily average of less than 1000 cases in the next week or two.
“The case count of less than 1000 is achievable over the summer months and it will allow everyone to be able to reduce their importation risk and their isolation period when they return from travel,” she adds.
Kandola says self isolation requirements of partially unvaccinated travelers entering the NWT will also be reduced from the current 10 day mark to eight days.
“This reduction applies to everyone so even if you have not been vaccinated or are not eligible for vaccination, your isolation period will be reduced to day 10 with monitoring for the remainder of the 14 days,” she adds.
Kandola says when it comes to households with mixed vaccination status, isolation requirements will be applied to whoever is the least vaccinated.
“If you have a mixed household with unvaccinated members, then everyone isolates till day 10 with a day 10 test. If it’s mixed with a partially vaccinated traveler coming in, then it’s a day eight test,” she adds.
Kandola says if a family member traveling in is fully immunized and their family is unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, they don’t need to be isolated.
“But if I’m partially vaccinated and I travel, it’s a day eight test and if I’m unvaccinated and traveling it will be a day 10 test,” she adds.
Kandola says if there is an increase in the national case count but people are fully vaccinated, and are well protected against those cases, they won’t change the isolation requirements.
“But if it is a B.1.617 Delta variant fueled outbreak then we need to reconsider the partially unvaccinated isolation periods,” she adds.
Kandola says if a traveler is out of the territory while a change in self isolation requirements is made, they will enforce the current dates and whatever stage of isolation would apply to the traveler.
“We would grandfather it in so even if you’re now in the territory, and you’re now on day two, and you’re fully immunized, you’ll be exempt from isolation if you’re fully immunized,” she adds.
Kandola says by fall, if NWT and Canadian vaccination rates meet the threshold and the average case count for COVID-19 nationally still remains under 1000 new cases per day, that leisure travel is expected to resume and be open to all visitors without the need for an exemption.