Four more people are facing hefty fines after violating Northwest Territories public health orders, according to a news release from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer Wednesday, which said it’s troubled by the “recent spate” in violations.
All four of the tickets were issued over a three day period last week after people reportedly failed to follow self-isolation protocols.
Two are from the North Slave region. The other two are from the Beaufort Delta.
On July 27, an individual in the North Slave region was charged after showing up in a public place after “explicit advice” from public health officials, read the release.
The next day, an individual in the North Slave region was charged after a report they were in a public place while they were supposed to be self-isolating.
A day later, two tickets were issued in the Beaufort Delta after two cases of people not following self-isolation protocols.
It brings the total number of tickets — which run $1,725 and includes a $225 victims of crime surcharge — to 12.
Of those, 10 were handed out in the month of July and nine out of the 12 tickets have been given to N.W.T. residents.
“The compliance and enforcement team is troubled by the recent spate of self-isolation violations by N.W.T. residents,” read the release.
“Even if someone isn’t with any of these people while choosing to break the rules, they could wind up putting others they care about — like grandma or grandpa — at risk.
“We’ve done a great job of pushing back this virus so far — but COVID-19 is very good at taking advantage of slip-ups and poor decisions,” it reads.
The government is reminding residents who are self-isolating to stay home, allow no visitors and get essentials delivered.
Fort Simpson update
The release also said the public health office is taking action after an alleged pandemic-related violation in Fort Simpson, adding there is no indication at this time that anyone is at risk of exposure in the community.
It comes after the N.W.T.’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said last week an investigation is underway.
Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly said people from Ontario and Alberta came to the community for a funeral in July.
Afterward, he said relatives from out of the territory were seen in close contact with other people.
As a result, the village closed its offices because its staff were in attendance.
Speeding ticket vs nighttime robbery
The release cautioned residents though to not always expect enforcement to happen right away, suggesting their investigation methods are more akin to looking into a nighttime robbery.
“Public health investigations take time — more time than something like a speeding ticket,” it reads.
“That’s because our officers generally don’t actually witness an incident like those officers would. This makes it more like an investigation of a robbery in the night — where you need witness accounts and other evidence to be able to substantiate your charge.”
It also suggests residents can take control of the situation by providing on-the-record statements if they witness a violation.
“Anonymous complaints and innuendo are not enough to substantiate a charge,” it cautioned.
It asks residents to contact Protect NWT to file a complaint.