New screening program launched for NWT businesses

Outside the Yellowknife Salvation Army. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com staff)
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The NWT Health and Social Services Authority has launched a new COVID-19 screening program that let’s organizations and businesses administer rapid screening tests to employees in their workplaces.

Program lead Melissa Holzer RN says the goal of DetectNWT is to provide an additional method for early detection of COVID-19 in workplaces where employees have frequent contact with the public.

“When used regularly – at least twice a week per person – it can help to identify individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms,” she adds.

Holzer says this reduces the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the workplace, at home and in the community.

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Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Caroline Wawzonek says as businesses focus on welcoming clients and customers back through their doors, this is another tool to provide a safe and secure working environment for front-line staff.

“Homegrown businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and will be the anchor to our economy as we emerge from the effects of the global pandemic,” she adds.

The NTHSSA will provide the COVID-19 test kits free of charge to approved organizations who undergo the training program.

Wawzonek says organizations are responsible for all other costs related to their screening programs.

“Some costs may be covered by the Department of ITI through the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development program,” she adds.

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Holzer says organizations and businesses administer tests by taking the online training program that includes instructional videos.

“Test samples are collected using a nasal swab that is rolled inside the end of each of the nostrils,” she adds.

Holzer says employees can take their own sample and perform their own test if they complete the training program. She says results are available in 15 minutes.

Wawzonek says both private and not-for-profit employers and service providers across all sectors can apply for the program to support COVID-19 screening programs in their facilities.

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The NTHSSA has acquired an initial supply of 30,000 rapid antigen tests for this program.

Holzer says the application process will prioritize businesses or organizations involved with vulnerable populations; high-exposure settings; essential services; and sectors that support economic and social activities.

For more information on how to apply, businesses and organizations can visit the NTHSSA website.

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