Children in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ will be able to return to the classroom next Monday as restrictions are set to loosen by the end of the week.
Health officials made the announcement on Wednesday, that restrictions in those communities will be loosening at 5 p.m. on Friday due to a decline in COVID-19 cases.
The GNWT announced a new testing project to lower the risk to school children too young to be vaccinated.
The project is to have 10 per cent of students aged 5 to 11 randomly chosen to be tested at home using the Abbot Panbio Rapid Response test. The test is part of a kit that includes a swab of the lower part of the nose and then a unit that will give instant results.
In the press conference, Scott Robertson, the NWT Health and Social Services Authority executive director of clinical integration, said there are plans to do something similar with longterm care homes and homeless shelters.
Outbreaks at shelters in Yellowknife and Inuvik led to a number of the homeless population and shelter employees catching COVID.
Premier Caroline Cochrane said the outbreaks in the shelters reflect a larger issue in the territory.
“When you look at the shelters, the common denominator is homelessness, the under-housed, and the need for housing in the NWT. That’s been a long standing priority of the Northwest Territories,” she said.
The re-opening in the North Slave region will come with new restrictions that will be implemented across the territory, including a voluntary vaccine requirement for businesses hoping to allow full capacity.
To implement this, businesses will need to apply for an exemption, which just became available on Wednesday.
Businesses that do not implement the vaccine requirement will only be allowed to hold 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors.
CKLB reached out to several Yellowknife businesses to see what their plans would be for reopening.
The Woodyard told CKLB over email it will be requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination when it does re-open.
The Yellowknife Racket Club announced to its members that it would also be requiring proof of vaccination.
Red Cross request
The reopening plans come a day after the GNWT announced Red Cross personnel would be arriving in the NWT to help the territory handle the outbreak.
On Tuesday, the federal government said the support would be 10 specialists to help with “surge support.”
These specialists are scheduled to be in the NWT until Nov. 14.
The loosening of restrictions in the North Slave region also comes a day after new restrictions were implemented in the South Slave.
In a press release issued Wednesday evening, the chief public health officer says there are 31 active cases reported in Hay River and K’atl’odeeche First Nation.
There are 127 active cases in Yellowknife, Dettah and Ndilǫ, a number that slightly declined in the past 24 hours. Whereas Behchokǫ̀ saw a slight increase and is at 68 active cases.
Łutsel Kʼe is reporting three new cases when it was at zero on Tuesday.
There are also six active cases in Fort Simpson, two in Whatì, one in Fort Smith, two in Fort Good Hope and 14 in Inuvik.
Update: the CPHO announced on Thursday that restrictions would be extended for at least another week in Behchokǫ̀, meaning children will not be returning to in-person learning next week.
With files from Francis Tessier-Burns.