The GNWT’s Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce has issued six summary offense charges for violations of public health orders since late June, according to data released by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) on Wednesday.

Most recently, an NWT resident was charged $1,725 on July 13 for failing to self-isolate.

On July 7, two NWT residents were each fined $1,725 for not filing self-isolation plans (SIPs) after passing the gate on Highway 7 without permission.

On July 6, an NWT resident was charged $1,725 for not submitting a SIP upon returning to the territory. The individual allegedly travelled several times between Alberta and the NWT and was warned after not having submitted plans for trips prior to being ticketed.

On July 3, a non-NWT resident was charged $1,725 for travelling within the territory without an exemption to the travel prohibition. That person entered on foot through an unauthorized entry point.

On June 25, a non-NWT resident was charged $1,725 for failing to self-isolate in a designated isolation hub.

The OCPHO didn’t give specific locations where the incidents took place, and said that three charges were issued in the Dehcho region, two in the South Slave, and one in the North Slave.

“No further details on locations or names will be announced to prevent undue stigma and public shaming due to the comparatively low number of charges,” said OCPHO spokesperson Mike Westwick.

An earlier incident, on June 10, involved a man from Edmonton who sped across the border on Highway 1 and was later ticketed for $1,725 for health order violations. He was also charged with cannabis possession and possessing a stolen vehicle.

RELATED REPORTING: Alberta man faces public health, criminal charges after speeding by border blockade

The unnamed man is scheduled for NWT court appearances in August and September.

Investigations into 1,700 allegations

The Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce has investigated more than 1,700 cases of alleged violations of health orders up to July 22.

A total of 871 have been in the North Slave region, 398 in the South Slave, 314 in the Beaufort Delta, 82 in the Dehcho and 73 in the Sahtu.

There have been 61 verbal warnings issued in the Beaufort Delta, 33 in the South Slave, 20 in the North Slave, nine in the Sahtu and three in the Dehcho region.

Fifteen written warnings were issued in the Sahtu region, seven in the South Slave, two in the Dehcho and one in the North Slave.

None of the investigations or charges have led to court summons.

“Our territory’s largest risk for reintroducing Covid-19 in our communities is travel from areas outside the NWT. Our best tool to prevent outbreaks is self-isolation for those returning,” Westwick said.

If residents suspect someone isn’t following the health orders, the OCPHO encourages them to call 1-833-378-8297 or email to file a complaint.

ProtectNWT Communications

ProtectNWT staff have received more than 23,700 phone calls and emails from May 10-July 18, according to a separate report from the OCPHO.

No fewer than 607 emails and 1,123 phone calls have gone through ProtectNWT each week since May 10.

More than 23,700 phone calls and emails were received by ProtectNWT staff from May 10 to July 18.
image courtesy of the GNWT

Contact volumes increased after June 12 when the NWT entered phase two of the Emerging Wisely recovery plan and some restrictions on public life were loosened.

RELATED REPORTING: GNWT says phase two of recovery plan takes effect June 12

Phone call volumes peaked at 1,946 during the week of June 21-27, which coincided with National Indigenous People’s Day and Father’s Day on June 21.

The second highest volume of phone calls to ProtectNWT occurred between June 28-July 4, when 1,837 calls went through. That week included Canada Day, on July 1.

Email volumes peaked during the week of July 12-18, when 1,396 were received by ProtectNWT, and 1,146 calls were received. It was also the only week since May 10 when the number of emails received exceeded phone calls.

Self-isolation plans

The number of SIPs approved by the GNWT gradually increased from May 3-July 18. The numbers were also generally higher for the weeks after June 13, a day after phase two began.

A total of 259 SIPs were approved during the week of May 3-9. Over the course of that month and into June numbers rose, and reached a peak of 702 for the week of June 28-July 4. SIP numbers fell to 631 for the week of July 5-11, and 632 for July 12-18.

The majority of travellers whose SIPs were approved were NWT residents. Non-NWT residents represented much smaller numbers. Non-NWT workers comprised a larger component of travellers with approved SIPs. NWT workers were the smallest cohort in that sample.

For most of the data sample, the majority of travellers with approved SIPs entered the NWT by air –2,806 – while 2,506 entered by highway.

As of Wednesday, 1,189 people were undergoing their 14-day self-isolation periods. Of that number, 58.8 per cent are NWT residents, 11.5 are non-NWT residents, 10.5 per cent are non-NWT workers, 10.3 per cent are essential service workers who have received permission to work, 6.8 per cent are “other workers” with permission to work, and 2.1 per cent are NWT workers.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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