Mask-wearing measures and advice not to travel between communities unless “necessary” will remain in place for the North Slave this holiday weekend.
In a news release late on Wednesday, the office of the NWT’s chief public health officer said residents of Yellowknife, Dettah, Ndilǫ, and Behchokǫ must “remain vigilant … because of how close Yellowknife was to community transmission” in its current Covid-19 outbreak.
That outbreak, centred on Yellowknife’s NJ Macpherson School, grew by one case to 70 on Wednesday. Of those, 53 have recovered and 17 remain active. Nobody involved has required hospital treatment.
The only change in guidance on Wednesday saw the NWT drop its suggestion that working remotely was “highly encouraged.”
Mandatory mask-wearing in indoor public spaces will remain in place, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola said in Wednesday’s news release. No end date for that measure has been given.
“Only essential travel in and out of Yellowknife, Dettah, Ndilǫ, and Behchokǫ̀ is recommended at this time,” Dr Kandola reiterated.
She said “necessary travel,” such as travel for medical appointments, should go ahead.
Camping was “not considered travelling in and out of the communities,” Kandola added, saying: “Spending time in the NWT’s outdoors is very healthy.”
The chief public health officer’s recommendation to limit travel is guidance and is not mandatory. The rules on mask-wearing, by contrast, are mandatory for the communities involved and backed by a public health order with legal force.
“People should make wise choices about travel in and out of affected communities,” Kandola said in Wednesday’s news release.
Earlier this week, the NWT’s Covid-19 Secretariat said Kandola was out of the office for two weeks and unavailable for interview.
One of her deputies, Dr Andy Delli Pizzi, could not be made available for interview as staff were too busy, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.