In preparing for a second wave of COVID-19, the territorial government is creating a secretariat role within the department of Health and Social Services to respond to the pandemic.
The secretariat will work closely with Kami Kandola, chief public health officer, implementing, and enforcing the NWT Public Health Order.
For a more efficient response, the secretariat will operate under a single organization.
“The COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat pulls together COVID-19-related supports and resources from multiple departments,” says Premier Caroline Cochrane.
Cochrane admits that it was difficult to define who was accountable and that operations were “not very well coordinated.”
The secretariat will not be responsible for ensuring economic relief, says Cochrane.
As needs change, things might change, she adds.
The secretariat will be responsible for the enforcement team, purchasing protective equipment, border patrol, isolation units, and the Protect NWT development plan moving forward.
Making the secretariat responsible for 150 working bodies.
“Worst case,” says Cochrane this investment could cost up to $86 million.
When asked how the territorial government can justify this spending, she says, “how much is a life worth?”
Cochrane says she is looking into getting more testing units to increase the response for residents isolating.
The new secretariat role will run for a two-year term.
With files from Francis Tessier-Burns.