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Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard says there is a concern in Hay River about the lack of monitoring of people entering the NWT and self-isolating in the community under Covid-19 restrictions.
NNSL file photo

Hay River’s deputy mayor has some questions for the GNWT.

Hay River is one of four regional centres – along with Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Inuvik – where people must self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the NWT, except for some exempt workers.

During the June 9 online meeting of town council, deputy mayor Robert Bouchard said the GNWT is not very forthcoming on how it’s dealing with some of those people.

“We’re still not getting consistent answers of how people are being monitored once they come in to self-isolate and who’s watching them if they are self-isolating,” he said. “It’s still a big concern for, I think, a lot of people in the community. It would be nice to hear more from Protect NWT and the GNWT on how this is being handled and monitored. I mean it just seems like it’s a free-for-all. And some people are very frustrated when we’re all sitting here being very good citizens and following the rules,  and then our government is basically allowing things to happen that shouldn’t be, and that I don’t think is protecting us in the territory here.”

Bouchard noted it is a “hot topic” in the community.

The deputy mayor added that Protect NWT has been asked to make a presentation to council on the issue.

During a GNWT news conference on June 12, Conrad Baetz, the deputy chief public health officer and the lead official for enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions, was asked if he had been contacted by the Town of Hay River about its concerns.

“I have had dialogue with the Town of Hay River on several occasions on a number of events, including the self-isolation protocols and people that might not be following them,” he replied, adding that Protect NWT does its best to follow up on every complaint.

Baetz was asked if he is open to changing the self-isolation protocols, if necessary.

“I believe that one of the things that we need to make sure that we do is we need to be open to hearing what the complaints and the concerns are and where we need to improve some of our reactions or some of our approaches to those complaints, that we take the steps to improve them,” he said.

Baetz said the GNWT is getting better at responding to complaints and making sure that everything is looked into in a timely, efficient and effective way.

 

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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