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COVID-19 GN Update - April 9, 2020
There are still no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.
Today, the total number of people under investigation to date is 376. 229 people are currently under investigation and 147 people are no longer under investigation.
As we head into the long weekend, I want to take some time to acknowledge our communities and some of the successes and resourcefulness I’ve seen during all this uncertainty and change.
Some hamlets have given out bingo cards, cleaning supplies, and soap or hand sanitizer to every household to encourage staying home and staying safe. One municipality has compiled lots of recreation alternatives and online activities for kids during the school closures. One community organized a snow sculpture competition. Some communities are organizing lunch programming for kids or food hamper programs for their residents.
It’s so uplifting to hear these initiatives and see our communities coming together to support one another. Thank you so much for these efforts.
I know the Easter weekend will be very different for many people this year, and celebrations will be much smaller, or postponed. This will be hard for some. So please, pick up the phone and check-in, video chat with friends and family, wave through the window. Send your messages of love from a safe distance.
We are in this for the long-haul, and we need to think in terms of months, not weeks. Diligence and commitment to social and physical distancing, staying home, and keeping Nunavummiut and our communities healthy will take everyone’s hard work. It’s up to all of us to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Now, for our youngest Nunavummiut, I want to let you in on a BIG development. After talking with Dr. Patterson, we have been able to determine that both the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy have been deemed critical workers during COVID-19. While they may not be able to get to every house, they are working around the clock to arrive in the territory. Of course, they have been advised on social and physical distancing, so that’s why you may not see them…
I wish you all a very happy, very safe, and very physically-distant Easter.
Chief Public Health Officer update
It has now been over two weeks since the travel ban into Nunavut was put into place.
This means that many Nunavummiut currently in the south are coming to the end of their mandatory 14-day isolation periods. It is time for many of these residents to return home.
The mandatory rules we put in place in our isolation sites are very strict. I think it is important to remind everyone that for 14 days, residents are:
- Confined in their hotel rooms most of the day.
- Have no physical contact with other residents undergoing isolation and no physical contact with the general population.
- Are allowed only monitored outings on hotel grounds.
- Must have daily health check-ins with on-site nurses.
- Are held responsible if they break isolation.
There are no exceptions.
These measures are a first step and they ensure Nunavummiut who want to come home, as well as their families and communities, remain healthy and safe.
The second step is bringing residents home. I want to take a moment and outline this process:
- 48 hours before anticipated departure, travellers are informed on the clearance and travel process.
- The day before departure, the nurses on-site review each traveller’s daily check-in logs to make sure they complied with the isolation rules. The nurses conduct a final in-person assessment to ensure travellers are healthy and show no symptoms of COVID-19.
- The assessments and results are sent to my office – and a decision to clear a traveller for the scheduled return home is made and a letter approving travel is issued. Residents need both the letter and a proof of residency to return to the territory.
- The day of departure, residents approved for travel are transported from the hotel to the airport via a private shuttle, sanitized thoroughly before use.
- The Government of Nunavut worked with airlines to minimize, to the greatest possible extent, the risk of anyone being exposed to COVID-19 during their travel back to the territory.
- Airports have enhanced cleaning, sanitation and passenger procedures throughout the check-in and security process that ensure physical distancing. As an additional precaution, residents will also undergo an airline health check prior to boarding.
- Until they arrive at their final destination in Nunavut, residents remain bound by the isolation agreement they signed the day they accepted to enter the isolation sites.
- Residents will travel to Nunavut on both chartered and scheduled flights:
- Residents travelling on chartered flights are shuttled directly to their airplane for boarding and take-off. Once in Nunavut, they will be chartered to their final in-territory destination.
- Residents travelling on scheduled flights are dropped off at the airport, where they are met and guided by airline employees to check-in, through security, to the boarding area and finally on the plane. They do not come in contact with other travellers during this process and remain bound by their isolation agreement.
I want to thank our returning residents for going through these drastic measures to protect their communities and Nunavut.
As we welcome back friends, family members, and loved ones, it is more important than ever to follow the rules: All social gatherings are still banned, and all Nunavummiut, including those just returning to their home communities, are expected to do their part to keep Nunavut safe. Practice strict social distancing, stay home when possible, avoid contact with individuals outside of your household, and monitor your health.
As part of the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) effort to protect Nunavummiut against the risk of COVID-19, GN Departments are implementing the following:
Department of Health Services
Those in isolation have access to cable, internet, three meals a day, fresh linens and cleaning supplies. Garbage is picked up daily. These costs are covered by the Government of Nunavut. The GN will pay for diapers, baby formula and feminine products. Guests are responsible to order these products through the provided delivery services, but they will not be charged for the items.
The information package has been updated to include information on grocery orders and take out. Both can be delivered to the hotel. These deliveries and related costs are not covered by the GN.
TOTAL (ALL ISOLATION LOCATIONS)
Guests In Isolation as of April 8
Traveller repatriation summary:
As of April 8, there are 463 requests, 351 of which are critical worker requests.
|Approved (includes critical and non-critical)||347||75.0%|
Nunavummiut’s health is our shared responsibility! Remember: wash your hands and surfaces, practice social distancing, listen to the advice of health officials, and stay home if you’re sick.