Three more tickets have been issued for breach of self-isolation protocol in the North Slave region this week, chief public health officer (CPHO) Kami Kandola said in a press conference Wednesday. Due to privacy concerns, no further details about the tickets could be disclosed.
Kandola reiterated the importance of responsible self isolation and taking responsibility to protect each other “as a territory.”
“This must be a grassroots, all in effort,” she said. “It must be guided by the principle that as an individual, and as a society, we have a responsibility to keep each other safe.”
Kandola spoke about the added importance of remaining vigilant as schools reopen in the coming weeks and professionals return to work. These changes, as well as the move to more indoor gatherings with colder weather on its way, increases our chances of spreading respiratory droplets. That’s why Kandola emphasized keeping gatherings small, maintaining a physical distance of at least two meters, and keeping food and drinks to yourself.
With cooler temperatures comes cold and flu season where many NWT residents might start to feel ill. For them, Kandola urges anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home and call your health-care provider for assessment. Anyone with a high fever or shortness of breath should go to the ER but Kandola said it’s best to call your health professional first if you’re experiencing mild cold or flu like symptoms.
While Kandola said that the territory has the capacity to test everyone, NWT Covid tests are still being sent down to Alberta with limited rapid testing capacity. Some have raised concerns over the four days (on average) that it takes for test results to return from Alberta, especially with classrooms resuming.
To that point Kandola said rapid testing is a “top priority” for the office of CPHO and regional health authorities.
“Part of our response to Covid is not only detecting the cases, isolating, and doing contract tracing, but also following up with people who have Covid-like symptoms, and giving them a diagnosis as quickly as possible so that people can get back to work, school and daycare as soon as possible,” she said.
She told reporters that a rapid testing working group has been established in the past two weeks to examine how best to access the resources required for rapid testing – in both supplies and machinery as well as professional – and how best to keep workers safe.
While Kandola praised the territory for the communal commitment to public health compliance, she encouraged citizens to continue to stay cautious.
“We are Covid-free today because our territory came together in unprecedented ways over the last six months,” she said. “But as we’ve seen in other places across Canada and around the globe, Covid-19 takes advantage of simple mistakes and puts this hard work at risk.”
Whether it is a party with friends, a cultural gathering, or a meeting with colleagues, “Covid-19 does not discriminate based on the purpose of an event.”
She said putting communities at risk and causing unnecessary isolating is “disruptive to our social fabric because people need to be at jobs, schools and other important activities.”
“Together let’s get ready and show how much we care about our communities by taking responsibility for ourselves and for each other.”