Fourteen days have passed since public health officials announced a pair of new Covid-19 cases in Yellowknife.
Those individuals have recovered and the two-week incubation period has now passed, so the territory is “in a good place,” chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola told reporters on a call Wednesday.
“We offer our graces and gratitude to those who have recently recovered from Covid-19,” she said. “With no recent hospitalizations, this is a confident reminder that about 80 per cent of people who contract Covid-19 will recover safely at home and with no need for medical care.”
But public health measures need to stay in place, Kandola said, referring to the increase in cases nationwide and the potentially severe and long-lasting symptoms some patients experience.
“As the pandemic continues to accelerate across Canada, these measures are more important than ever.”
On Nov. 4, Canadian CPHO Teresa Tam said hospitalizations due to Covid-19 could rise this winter. As of Wednesday, there were 31,147 active cases across the country with daily averages of 3,150 new cases nationally.
NWT residents should remain aware of the ongoing risks, Kandola advised.
“More cases are inevitable and while our self-isolation protocols are protected, we still need to take steps to protect ourselves from each other as we weather this growing Covid-19 peak,” she said.
The public should adhere to the seven basic public health measures to fight the virus threat which include physical distancing in public of at least six feet, when possible, and to wear a mask when that can’t be done, said Kandola.
“Seek small crowds and large spaces,” she added.
Others precautions include washing hands frequently, staying home when sick – even when symptoms are mild – coming forward to be assessed for Covid testing by a local health-care provider and maintaining responsibility by self-isolating when required.
Businesses and exposure plans
Kandola said another way that communities can fight the pandemic is for businesses and organizations to update their exposure control plans, adding that now is a good time to do so given the rising risk of the pandemic across Canada.
Officials from the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) are available to help businesses with their exposure control plans, she added.
Kandola also thanked Anytime Fitness, one of two locations identified by public health officials in October as having been visited by a person infected with Covid-19 by a housemate.
She said the public should not feel compelled to avoid the business out of health concerns.
“They worked diligently with us during case exposure investigation,” she said. “We know that it is difficult when a location is named as a potential public exposure risk. Then some jump to conclusions about the safety of the location at large. This is not helpful or correct.
“An exposure risk means a very specific times where there was some risk for exposure for individuals we could not definitively identify through contract tracing.”
Kandola said because of the partnership between the fitness facility and the health department, the investigation went smoothly.
“It was because of existing public health measures that there was no documented transmission from exposure. Period.”