YELLOWKNIFE (October 26, 2021) - The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) has launched DetectNWT, a new community-based COVID-19 screening program. This program empowers organizations and businesses to administer rapid screening tests to employees in their workplaces.
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. This reduces the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the workplace, at home and in the community.
The NTHSSA provides the Panbio COVID-19 test kits free of charge to approved organizations who undergo the training program. Organizations are responsible for all other costs related to their screening programs. Some costs may be covered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) through the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program.
Organizations and businesses administer tests by taking the online training program that includes instructional videos. Training takes less than an hour. Test samples are collected using a nasal swab that is rolled inside the end of each of the nostrils. Employees can take their own sample and perform their own test if they complete the training program. Results are available in 15 minutes.
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. If demand exceeds capacity, program intake will prioritize areas of highest impact by focusing on services, businesses, or organizations that have frequent contact with the public.
This program cannot be used for people who need testing because they have symptoms of COVID-19, have returned from travel, or have been advised to get tested by public health.
The NTHSSA has acquired an initial supply of 30,000 Abbott Panbio rapid antigen tests for this program.
The rapid testing program is open to any public, private or non-for-profit employer or service provide, you must apply online and when accepted resources will be provided to develop an effective worksite screening program before tests are provided. The application process will prioritize businesses or organizations involved with:
- Vulnerable populations
- High-exposure settings
- Essential services
- Sectors that support economic and social activities
For more information on how to apply, visit the program page.
“This is an exciting new program and another tool in the early detection of COVID-19 in our communities. We are very encouraged by the amount of success we are already seeing at our pilot sites. Organizations have provided feedback on how easy it is to use and that it provides them with another layer of comfort and safety for their employees and the public.”
- Melissa Holzer RN, DetectNWT Program Lead
“As businesses focus on welcoming clients and customers back through their doors, this is another tool to both provide a safe and secure working environment for front-line staff as well as the continued assurance to the larger NWT community that businesses are prioritizing safety for all residents. 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.”
- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment
“By finding ways to detect asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, our health care system will be better able to monitor the COVID-19 virus in NWT communities and contain the spread where and when possible. This program is one of many new initiatives that the GNWT is implementing to enable NWT residents to get back to doing the things that we love.”
- Julie Green, Minister Health and Social Service