With the installation of an autosampler in Hay River, all the communities set up with waste water testing are operational.
Hay River had additional plumbing maintenance that was needed before the autosampler, a device which tests waste water for traces of the COVID-19 virus’ DNA, could be installed.
“The biggest hurdle that we have overcome is, we have to have additional requirements to insert the autosampler,” Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory’s Chief Public Health Officer, said at a press conference on Thursday. “That was achieved this week, so we can have the samples ready for the holidays, which was our goal.”
Waste water testing has also been implemented in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Inuvik — covering around half of the territory’s population, according to a statement from the health department.
“Collecting this information can serve as an early warning system for the territory and help the health and social services system target advice to communities as the pandemic continues.
This is because traces of the virus that causes COVID-19 can be found in waste water several days before symptoms appear.
The equipment was purchased and installed with federal funding, the GNWT receiving $100,000 from Indigenous Services Canada.
“Ultimately, it will better prepare us to respond to outbreaks and monitor our containment efforts,” said Kandola.
Throughout November there were no traces of COVID-19 found by the waste water sampling system, according to Kandola.
She added the CPHO’s office working to develop a dashboard that will display results from the waste water testing.