Public health emergency extended, state of emergency ended

An outdoor testing site was set up in Yellowknife in late March. (CKLB file photo.)

The territorial government has extended the public health emergency, but not the state of emergency.

A Government of the Northwest Territories press release says it has been successful at managing the risk of COVID-19 using the Public Health Act, and has not had to use authorities under the Emergency Management Act.

“Nothing changes as far as public health,” says Mike Westwick, spokesperson for the GNWT COVID-19 response, in an email.

However, the release adds if deemed necessary the GNWT is prepared to re-enact a state of emergency. This would be in the event of community transmission or a second wave.

Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North and caucus chair, says ending the state of emergency is the right move.

“We should not get used to living under a perpetual state of emergency,” he says in an email. “The powers under the Public Health Act are sufficient during this time.”

Johnson adds the next task is to respond to the economic emergency.

There have been no cases of COVID-19 in the NWT since April 5, but the release adds there is fear of it spreading from other areas of Canada.

This is the eighth time Diane Thom, minister of Health and Social Services, extends the public health emergency.

NWT residents entering the territory will continue to be required to self-isolate for 14 days before travelling to their home community.

Checkpoints and isolation centres will continue to be provided to ensure the NWT remains COVID-free.

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He is happy to call the Northwest Territories home and is always listening for stories that matter to the community. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com.