Public Health Enforcement Update

News Type: 
Advisories

YELLOWKNIFE 19 August 2020 – The Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce issued one Summary Offense Ticket Information charge since last week.

The charge was for failure to follow self-isolation protocols and was issued in the North Slave region on August 13, 2020.

The charge was issued after investigating information that an individual had tried to attend a gathering and a restaurant while required to self-isolate.

There is no indication the individual was exposed to COVID-19, and no reason to believe anyone else was.

The 14 day incubation period has long passed since this incident occurred, so there is no public health risk which arose in this particular case.

Troubling incident

This type of non-compliance is particularly troubling.

While it is crucial to avoid any kind of in-person socializing and public places while self-isolating, it is always particularly risky to go to places where you can expect to see many others.

Self-isolation works because you avoid others, and limit the chance of transmitting COVID-19.

When gathering with others, there is always a risk of transmitting the virus to others, who may then pass it to additional people, causing a network of infections which could become very tough to control.

Self-isolation is the foundation

Self-isolation is a critical public health measure in preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 in our territory.

Given the risk associated with travel, and the importance self-isolation plays in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, our enforcement team remains focused on investigating non-compliance with self-isolation orders, and taking appropriate action to gain compliance.

This work will remain especially important as we see a surge in self-isolation plans filed.

Taking responsibility, and sticking to self-isolation plans, shows you care about the safety of your community, co-workers, friends and family.

Gatherings and you

When people get together, viruses spread. Limiting crowds is one of the best ways to keep each other safe as we respond to this pandemic.

We are continuing to investigate reports of gatherings which do not follow the public health orders.

While we have issued warnings thus far, we will take additional enforcement actions if necessary.

This is because in a pandemic, it’s not just you who is affected by poor decisions. It is your friends, your families, and your communities.

There are many examples across the country as our communities re-open of gatherings leading to large outbreaks.

We’ve seen them connected to bars, restaurants, house parties, sports events, and even family gatherings.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 pays no attention to what kind of event is being held. It only cares whether there are lots of people around, and how close they are together.

So remember: when you get together, size matters. Larger spaces and smaller crowds are safer for you and yours.

And physical distance of two metres, or six feet, is always best.

Staying vigilant

Based on the number of reports we receive each week, it is very clear that people in our territory are taking a strong interest in ensuring their communities stay safe.

That engagement is valuable as we move forward.

As you do engage in our collective response, remember: there is every reason to be vigilant, but no reason to be a vigilante.

No matter who we are, where we’re from, or what we’re doing, we’re all facing this pandemic together – and everyone is feeling anxious.

As a territory, the best thing we can do is channel that anxiety into productive behaviours.

Staying strong, and remembering that you do have control in this situation will always be more productive than getting nervous when you see an Alberta plate or someone you don’t recognize.

Supporting others in doing the same is even better.

And if you see someone who is not following the rules, and you don’t feel comfortable reminding them why they’re important to our communities, report it by calling 8-1-1, or emailing protectnwt@gov.nt.ca.

Attribution

All commentary is attributable to Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Conrad Baetz.

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