Update: Nunavut shuts down as ten new cases of COVID-19 reported

A file photo of Nunavut's flag. Photo supplied by Pixabay.
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Update 11:50 a.m.: In a press conference on Monday, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said there would no change to the northern travel bubble for people returning to Nunavut from the Northwest Territories.

Patterson added policies about people entering the Northwest Territories are the decision of NT’s CPHO, and Patterson said NT’s CPHO “may or may not want to revisit” the Northern travel bubble.

 

Nunavut is entering into a mandatory, territory wide restriction period for two weeks, after ten new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut, bringing the territory’s total up to 18.

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“Do not visit people, do not socialize outside your household, stay home if you feel even the little bit of sickness in you,” Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a press conference on Monday, announcing the new.

Nine of the new cases are in Arviat — after the first case was reported in the community on Friday — where there is evidence of community spread, according to a statement from Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer.

All non-essential businesses will be required to close, including recreation facilities, bars, and childcare and healthcare centres will be open only to essential staff and for emergencies respectively. People must work at home, and schools will be providing remote learning services.

Masks are mandatory in the Kivalliq region, and Sanikiluaq.

The other case is Rankin Inlet. There is no risk of community spread in Rankin’s Inlet or Sanikiluaq, but contact tracing is ongoing in all three communities, with the “end goal to trace and contain the virus.”

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All the individuals are isolating and doing well.

But in a press conference on Monday when the territory-wide restrictions were announced, Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer said there was concern COVID-19 could spread to other communities.

“Due to the number cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, anyone from Arviat who left the community on or after November 2 is being asked to immediately isolate for 14 days wherever they are,” Patterson said in a statement.

The statement from Patterson also emphasized the importance of following physical distancing restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines, including handwashing.

“In addition, to protect Elders in Arviat, there will be no visitors allowed at the Elders’ centre for at least two weeks,” Patterson added. “Exemptions to this rule will need to be approved by the public health doctor on call.”

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