I am writing in response to the article “A lot of concern in Inuvik over slow-drip of COVID-19 notifications” in the October 21, 2021 edition of the Inuvik Drum.
First, I’d like to recognize Inuvik residents for following the public health advice that we have heard throughout this pandemic. Because people followed this advice and stayed home, they have been able to limit the spread of COVID-19 and stop others from getting sick. After the initial jump in cases, numbers were steady. It could have been much different, as we’ve seen in Yellowknife. Great work, Inuvik.
Second, I’d like to provide clarity on the notices issued by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer. If someone tests positive and contact tracing determines the source of the infection, there is no need for an exposure notice, so we don’t issue one. Public health staff have notified the person infected, and their contacts, provided appropriate isolation advice and additional testing guidance.
The positive case is then added to the public health advisory that comes from the OCPHO at the end of each weekday. That’s why someone who tested positive on the weekend isn’t listed in the case count until the next business day. Our number one goal is to stop the spread of the virus and keep people safe. I understand that people are anxious and even frightened, but it’s important to remember that it’s the public health measures that keep us safe, not up-to-the-minute numbers.
To close, I like to reflect on the volume of misinformation that continues to circulate in the NWT and around the world about the pandemic. It’s important to have a trusted source of information about how many cases there are and where. That source of information in the NWT is the OCPHO. We strive to provide accurate and timely information to keep residents of the whole NWT safe. Once again, thank you for following the advice that quickly brought the outbreak in Inuvik under control.
Minister of Health and Social Services