Evidence and decision-making

The OCPHO makes decisions based on science. The NWT has taken the approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the OCPHO politically to ensure that evidence dictates planning.

The CPHO uses the Emerging Wisely Public Health Risk Assessment tool to assess the public health risk of various activities. Embedded within the tool are two links to guidance documents that provide information needed to assess public health risks and populate the columns of the tool:

  • John Hopkins University, Center for Health Security: 
    • Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19
  • Government of Canada: 
    • Lifting of restrictive public health measures - Recommendations from the F/P/T Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19

The John Hopkins University guide provides a detailed rationale for populating each column of the risk assessment tool. The CPHO and her team refer to these guides and apply their collective professional judgment in coming up with the risk assessment for each activity in the risk assessment tool.

COVID-19 spreads in the air. That’s why indoor activities that involve forceful air exhalation, like singing, or vigorous exercise, especially in poorly ventilated rooms, are much higher risk than outdoor activities. Your risk of getting COVID-19 is higher indoors or in enclosed areas like vehicles or aircraft than outside.

The Chief Public Health officer and her team constantly monitor the pandemic as it unfolds across Canada and around the world, other jurisdictions’ responses, new findings and best practices.