With Halloween creeping closer, the Northwest Territories’ chief public health officer urged residents “not to get complacent” about Covid-19 measures.
Dr Kami Kandola on Wednesday told reporters the NWT is “not immune” to the effects of the pandemic, pointing to the recent doubling of confirmed cases in the territory from five to 10.
Three new cases – two in Yellowknife and one in Inuvik – were confirmed by October 21. Another case was confirmed at the Gahcho Kué mine on October 23, followed by a second case from the same household in Inuvik.
This should serve as a reminder that the NWT isn’t out of the woods yet, Kandola said.
“Please stay calm. Focus on the public risk of Covid-19, follow additional advice when that public risk is communicated, and stick to the basics we know that can stop Covid in its tracks,” she told residents.
Kandola asked residents to brush up on the territory’s safety protocols and Halloween recommendations before heading out on Saturday.
The NWT issued guidelines earlier this month for prospective trick-or-treaters.
Those guidelines ask residents to:
- stay outdoors as much as possible
- stay six feet from others at all times
- wear mittens to keep contact with communal surfaces to a minimum
- thoroughly wash hands at the end of the night
- wash mittens and costumes when home
- keep trick-or-treating groups to five people or fewer
If you’re handing out candy, make sure treats are individually packaged and find ways of providing them that limit contact with others. Use a hockey stick or tongs, for example, or even a cardboard toilet paper tube to create a slide.
“I’m looking forward to seeing physically distant ghouls and goblins and Covid-savvy trick-or-treating,” Kandola said. “Be creative in how you provide your tricks and treats so that we all remain safe.”
She reminded those looking to have get-togethers that gathering limits in the territory are still in place. A maximum of 10 people can be in one household at any given time. Larger venues, such as community halls, have a current limit of 25 people.
“As we’ve seen down south with our neighbours, private gatherings have been a driving force for community spread,” Kandola said.
“We do understand that it can be exhausting to stick to the public health guidance, especially if things are getting darker and colder.
“Today, we are in a place where we’re looking to move forward even as other jurisdictions are tightening up, and that’s because we all came together, putting our territory first and protecting each other. So let’s all do our part and take the fundamental steps that we know work to keep each other safe.”