This is page numbers 739 - 766 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was health.

Topics

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 746

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] When I talked about the Member's statement, I talked about the COVID-19. The COVID-19 that I was talking about, I know it's pretty dangerous. It still hasn't come up here, but let's prepare ourselves. [Translation ends]

I did a Member's statement on COVID-19. I talked about the seniors' homes, the tourists, and the industries. The first question I have could be departmental, I am not sure, but since it's related to health, Health and Social Services. We received a statement from the Minister of health that states that we are strongly advising all travellers on the international to be self-isolated. We are advising them, so we are not directing them or telling them. Mr. Speaker, tourists who are coming from outside, international travels, it's at their pleasure if they want to go to do self-isolation, but it's not a mandatory thing. Is that a correct saying, that it's an option for international travellers coming to Northwest Territories to be self-isolated? Masi.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, that is correct. Our Chief Public Health Officer updated the public health advisory to include strong recommendations of self-isolation for all residents and visitors who travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days. They are expected to remain at home or in their accommodation and avoid contact with others while monitoring their symptoms until 14 days have passed. Also, with the tourism, they may return home if they wish. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

As you know, as we all know, it only takes one to have an impact in our Northwest Territories. It's great that we don't have COVID-19, the coronavirus here in the Northwest Territories, but we have to be proactive instead of reacting to certain things. Why couldn't we have a seniors' care package that Members identified and also the possibility of having workers work from home? Those are some areas that we can easily do within our mandate as the Government of the Northwest Territories. I am afraid that, if we are not proactive on self-isolation with interaction towards coming into the Northwest Territories, we may be impacted. We are trying to prevent that from happening. I highly encourage this government to seriously consider that. Obviously, we have to work with public medical officers, as well.

The second question I have pertains to seniors' homes, not only in my region, but other regions, as well. That is: we have workers travelling south with their kids for spring break. Obviously, they will be coming home. There, again, we are advising them to be self-isolated, but they will be returning to work. Whatever they bring back, the most vulnerable are the seniors. What is the department of health doing with the seniors' homes in our ridings to deal with this area?

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

The long-term care facilities have been provided targeted advice on heightened protections, given that seniors are at risk of more serious complications and outcomes as a result of this disease. The Chief Public Health Officer is briefing the long-term care facilities and strongly advising that everyone takes precautions. These are all the things we are discussing right now.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

In the past, we have closed the doors to the public. When flu season came around, there was a direct impact on the seniors. We have done that. We have the authority to do that. I am advising the Minister to follow up on that with the communities' health organizers. I have a third question pertaining to school, the school closure. We have the highest person who advises us. The Chief Public Health Officer advised today to close NWT schools until after Easter. We are saying, "Well, it's up to the DEA to deal with that." This is the highest decision-maker coming down, advising us to close our schools, and here we are still debating that. I think we should follow through with that, in my view.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

The Member is correct; our Chief Public Health Officer has closed down the schools. Now, we are looking at other areas such as the child development centres or the seniors' facilities. This is all work that is taking place now. It is something we will look at.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Monfwi.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. Around us, throughout Canada, a lot of activities are happening. There are a lot of closures, whether it be schools, public places, and so forth. Here, we are reacting slowly to it. We need to be proactive as a government going forward. The final question I have is pertaining to industry, mine workers. As a stated in my report, the Baffin iron mines tells its Nunavut workers to stay home to limit COVID-19. What is our stand? We have so many workers who interact with international workers, as well, at the mine site. What is our stand as a GNWT working with the mine workers? Masi.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

At this point, this is ongoing work that is taking place. Our department is working day and night to ensure that we keep on top of what is going on with this coronavirus. We are looking at things like the mine and all the other departments because this is important. This is stuff that requires a lot of work. That is what we are working on. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 219-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Self-Isolation for International Travellers and Visitors to the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 747

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Nunakput.

Question 220-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Portable Medical Equipment for Communities
Oral Questions

Page 747

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the health Minister on an action plan for COVID-19 for my riding in Nunakput and all small communities across the territory. For isolation equipment, oxygen machines, portable oxygen machines, are they being sent into our communities? Do they have to be called out of Inuvik to be sent into the community? How does that work, Mr. Speaker? Thank you.

Question 220-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Portable Medical Equipment for Communities
Oral Questions

Page 747

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Question 220-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Portable Medical Equipment for Communities
Oral Questions

Page 747

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. All communities have the necessary personal protective equipment supplies on hand to respond to this virus and the infectious disease. It is important to remember that we work with all of our small communities, and important that it's not getting into the communities. The equipment in the communities, most of the equipment in the smaller communities is supplied, and we have measures out there. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 220-19(2): COVID-19 Pandemic and Portable Medical Equipment for Communities
Oral Questions

Page 747

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to make sure that the communities across the territory, not only my riding, have portable health breathing equipment for them in regard to if anybody does get COVID-19, making sure our elders and that are properly cared for. I know that they're working hard. Our frontline staff are working hard, and just to make sure that equipment is in the community prior. Like I always say, it's better to be proactive than reactive.