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COVID-19 GN Update - December 29, 2021

29 December 2021

Premier’s update:

Ullakkut,

Happy New Year.

As of this morning Nunavut has 74 positive cases of COVID-19. We have active cases in eight communities:

  • 6 in Arviat.
  • 1 in Baker Lake.
  • 1 in Igloolik.
  • 25 in Iqaluit.
  • 9 in Pangnirtung.
  • 1 in Qikiqtarjuak.
  • 22 in Rankin Inlet.
  • 9 in Sanirajak.

I will leave the details regarding these cases to Dr. Patterson, our Chief Public Health Officer.

In response to the rising number of cases, Dr. Patterson has recommended that we extend the lockdown until January 17. This means schools will remain closed and only critically essential Government of Nunavut employees will be working in offices.

The mounting number of cases spread across multiple communities means that our front-line workers are stretched to the max. Our nurses, doctors, and community healthcare providers are working around the clock to administer COVID tests and conduct contact tracing. Please make sure to be patient. They are doing their best to respond in a timely manner.

I know that staff working on COVID response have once again missed a holiday with their families to do their part to protect our communities. I want to thank them once again for their hard work and sacrifice.

I know that Nunavummiut are resilient, and kind. We all need to be community-minded to contain the spread of the pandemic in our territory.

I want to thank everyone who has done their part to help us stay safe. Thank you to those who cancelled their Christmas dinners and holiday gathering. Thank you to all who cancelled their travel plans and decided to stay at home.

Travel contributes to the spread of COVID-19. Please, if you do not NEED to travel – don’t. Even if you are triple vaccinated.  Do not travel within Nunavut and do not travel south. Staying home is the best way to stop the spread of the virus.

I hope that every one of you does your part to keep Nunavut safe from Omicron.

That includes:

  • Staying at home and avoiding gathering with anyone who does not live with you.
  • Getting vaccinated and encouraging your loved ones to do the same.
  • And getting your booster shot when possible.
  • Wearing a mask.
  • Getting tested and isolating if you have any COVID symptoms.

We all need to keep adhering to Dr. Patterson’s advice. With active cases in eight communities, we are approaching a breaking point in terms of our healthcare capacity.

I have been working with staff to draft requests for assistance from the federal government.

  • Nunavut will need more nurses and healthcare professional.
  • Support staff to bolster our teams on the ground.
  • Contact tracers who can help remotely.
  • Personal protective gear such as N95 masks.
  • Above all, our territory urgently needs more housing to allow every family in Nunavut to safely isolate at home.

This is particularly important considering what’s happening in Pangnirtung where we have a tuberculosis outbreak followed by a COVID-19 outbreak.

Nunavut is also working on procuring rapid test kits. We hope that the tests will provide another tool for managing the outbreaks in our communities. We will be providing more details in the upcoming days.

These are difficult times for all of us, please take care of each other.

While we can’t visit our Elders, we can continue to provide them support in other ways. Please call Elders you love – write to them. Drop off country food if possible.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. Remember, we need to celebrate safely without gathering once again. Be kind and stay safe.

Qujannamiik.

 

Chief Public Health Officer Update:

Good morning,

We are seeing COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the territory and we know that some cases are a direct result of visiting in homes. I cannot stress enough the importance of following the public health measures. I know this is difficult during the holidays, but right now social gatherings are not allowed. Whether you are vaccinated or not, no one should be attending home or public gatherings. At this time, we don’t know if the variant in Nunavut is Omicron, but if it is, we know that it spreads much faster than other variants of COVID-19. Since December 21, we have gone from no cases of COVID-19 in the territory to 74 cases in eight different communities. This is a concerning rise in cases and it is putting extreme pressure on our health system, including our ability to manage contact tracing and surveillance testing.

Adding to the concern are the numbers of holiday travellers who will be returning home in the next week. Due to the high transmission rate of Omicron, there is an increased risk that we will see additional cases of COVID-19 introduced due to travellers returning from the south. That is why it is vital that people travelling home, who are not triple vaccinated, isolate for 14 days upon their arrival. This is the best way to protect our communities from outbreaks. It is also important that anyone who develops symptoms, even if they are mild, immediately isolate and call the hotline at 1-888-975-8601. If you are sick, stay home. Don’t take the risk that it is not COVID-19. This is for everyone’s health. Please be patient when calling the hotline, wait times can be as long as an hour at this time.

In an effort to assist in identifying cases early, we will begin handing out take home COVID-19 self-tests to travellers returning to Nunavut and will announce the start date as soon as it is confirmed. Individuals will be asked to test themselves on or after days 6 or 7 and then again on days 12 or 14. Or, if you become ill, test right away. Anyone who receives a positive test result needs to call the hotline immediately. I must emphasize that these tests are not a replacement for isolation. A negative test result does not mean you can leave isolation early. There is a chance the virus is not strong enough to be detected yet but can still be spread to other people. The self-tests will help identify and contain the virus faster if they are used as an additional layer of protection. Rapid tests are not a substitute for other methods of infection control.

It is important that everyone understands that every layer of protection is important. Isolating when asked and when you feel ill, wearing masks, keeping strict physical distance, getting vaccinated and boosted, testing and staying home, all combine to create a shield to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19. Every time we miss one of these layers, we increase the chance of spreading this virus across the territory. Please follow all the measures, always.  

As I mentioned, the rise in cases is putting a strain on our health system, which is already stretched thin over the holidays. We have already seen other provinces and territories cut services and access to health care because of COVID-19. We need to stop this virus from spreading to avoid having to limit Nunavummiut’s access to health care.

Please, follow the public health measures. If you have been asked to isolate, do so. The risks are too high right now and we can only contain these outbreaks with the help and co-operation of all Nunavummiut.

Thank you.

 

 

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

For all the latest information and resources about COVID-19 in Nunavut, go to:
https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

For the latest information on current public health restrictions, go to: 
https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/information/nunavuts-path

For information on upcoming vaccine clinics go to:
https://gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-vaccination

 

COVID-19 case status: December 29, 2021

Total Tests Total confirmed cases Total active cases Total recovered cases Deaths Total persons vaccinated with at least one dose in Nunavut Total persons vaccinated with two doses in Nunavut
24,179 746 70 672 4 30,484 24,746

* Confirmed cases include those meeting the national case definitions. Persons followed includes individuals with specific symptoms and exposures as well as others who are self-monitoring or self-isolated. Not all of these individuals have symptoms or require testing.

*There may be a delay reporting attribution and statistics from cases acquired in Southern Canada. 12 cases that were detected out of territory have been attributed to Nunavut. This includes 3 deaths. Not all NU residents with COVID-19 detected out of territory will be attributed to Nunavut.

COVID-19 community case statistics: December 29, 2021

Community

COVID-19 transmission

Time period

Public case count yesterday (TOTAL)

Public case count today (TOTAL) Change from yesterday (cases) Cumulative Recovered Total Active Cases
Baker Lake Ongoing

Since 12/29/2021

0 1 1 0 1
Igloolik Ongoing Since 12/29/2021 0 1 1 0 0

Arviat

Ongoing Since 12/29/2021 0 6 6 0 6
Sanirajak Ongoing

Since 12/29/2021

0 8 8 1 8
Qikiqtarjuaq Ongoing

Since 12/28/2021

1 1 0 0 1
Rankin Inlet Ongoing

Since 12/23/2021

10 22 12 0 22
Pangnirtung Ongoing

Since 12/23/2021

3 7 4 0 7
Iqaluit Ongoing Since 11/04/2021 22 27 5 2 25
TOTAL      37 73 37 2 70

COVID-19 vaccination status: December 21, 2021

(No update this week due to holiday closure)

Details/Limitations:

This information shows the number of doses given in a community as of December 21, 2021. The percentage of vaccine administered is vaccine administered divided by the Nunavut population estimate for 18 and older.

Territorial totals for doses are an accurate summary. The community level data is under review to ensure appropriate attribution. Community totals will be adjusted as needed.  This may lead to minor fluctuations in the percentages by community.

Doses are typically attributed to the community in which they are administered.

Total doses given will include residents and non-residents, including rotational workers.

Multiple communities represent individuals who received doses in two separate communities, or in communities that are not their place of residence.

An individual may have received dose 1 and/or dose 2 outside of their community of residence.

This does not account for people who may have been vaccinated partially or fully out of territory.

A high percentage in one community does not equal herd immunity. There is no established or defined percentage of what herd immunity is for COVID-19. Whatever herd immunity may be it cannot achieved with current vaccine approvals (e.g. no vaccine available for children under twelve). 

 

Source:

Source: Statistics Canada, Demography Division, Special tabulations. Prepared by: Nunavut Bureau of Statistics, January 27, 2021.

Dose numbers are from the Department of Health’s Meditech system.

Eligible adults in community are defined as the number of individuals 18 and older as per the 2020 population estimates.

The community population estimates are "non-official" since they are not based on components of population growth (births, deaths and migration). They should be used with caution. 

 

Testing stats to date per community: December 21, 2021

Community

Tests done

Tests Positive Tests Negative
Baker Lake (Since 29 December) 5 1 4
Igloolik (Since 29 December) 9 1 8
Arviat (Since 29 December) 43 6 37
Sanirajak (Since 29 December) 42 8 34
Qikiqtarjuaq (Since 28 December) 5 1 4
Pangnirtung (Since 20 December) 61 7 54
Iqaluit (Since 23 December) 367 25 342
Rankin Inlet (Since 23 December) 165 21 144

Isolation population: 

Traveler Type Guests in Isolation as of December 28
Medical 56
Public  0
EMTI 0
Construction 0
Total 56

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date # of Travellers from Health Isolation Sites
Dec. 29, 2021 7
Dec. 30, 2021 2
Dec. 31, 2021 0
Jan. 1, 2021 0
Jan. 1, 2021 0
Total 9

 

Ongoing services:

Health centres open with full services:

  • Grise Fiord
  • Kimmirut
  • Qikiqtarjuaq
  • Chesterfield Inlet
  • Coral Harbour
  • Rankin Inlet
  • Whale Cove

Adjusted services:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, public are asked to call the health centre before attending with flu-like symptoms.

Health centres on emergency services only:

  • Igloolik
  • Clyde River
  • Kinngait
  • Pond Inlet
  • Pangnirtung
  • Resolute Bay
  • Sanirajak
  • Arviat
  • Sanikiluaq
  • Gjoa Haven
  • Kugaaruk
  • Kugluktuk
  • Taloyoak

Health Centres with reduced services (reduced services vary depending on staff available):

  • Cambridge Bay
  • Najuaat
  • Baker Lake
  • Arctic Bay

 

Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Services

Ongoing services: 

As EIA is a central department, no services are altered or changed.  The COVID Secretariat and Communications will continue to assist with any GN releases and updates.

 

Department of Justice Services

Ongoing services: 

Community Justice

In-person meetings for Community Justice in Iqaluit are restricted to emergency situations where the client has no access to a phone or safe location to contact our service providers over the phone. Individuals are asked to contact the on-call Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA) line if they have any questions or need support using the following number 1-844-534-1038. The call will be assessed to determine the support needed and directed to a Community Justice Specialist who can help with applications and resource referrals.

Community Corrections

Community Corrections offices will be closed to the public until further notice. All Community Corrections clients are to report by phone using the following contact information:

  • South Baffin: 867-899-1380
  • North Baffin: 867-899-1380
  • Kilvalliq: 867-645-6779
  • Kitikmeot: 867-391-0130

Correctional Facilities

Corrections will implement safety protocols to prevent Covid-19 from entering the facilities and mitigate the risk of spread in the event it does.  Measures in place include suspending all outside visitation and non-essential traffic. The patience and support from inmates and their families is appreciated in taking this step as it is not easy.

Given the heightened security risks associated with corrections, specific details regarding individual institutional plans can not be provided. However, the following information regarding steps being taken can be provided:

  • All intakes will be isolated for a period of 14 days upon intake.
  • Institutions have added additional hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas.
  • Response/containment kits have been outfitted with gloves, masks, face shields, gowns and instructions for use.
  • Nurses are diligently screening inmates upon intake for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Increased cleaning protocols to ensure communal surfaces are cleaned on an increased schedule throughout the day.

Labour Standards

The Labour Standards Office can be contacted by at 1-867-975-6322, toll free 1-877-806-8402 or by fax at 1-867-975-6367.

The Office is still available to answers questions Nunavummiut may have regarding the Labour Standards Act and Regulations.

Court Services

The Nunavut Court of Justice is currently closed to the public by order of the Court. This decision will be revisited on January 17, 2022.

Victims Services

The Victim Services Office is closed to the public at this time. However, Nunavummiut who need to contact the office can do so by using the following contact information by calling toll free at 1-866-456-5216 or emailing victimservices@gov.nu.ca. Services will be provided on a case-by-case basis.

Rental Office

The Rental Office will be closed to the public. To contact the office, please call 867-975-6314 or  email at Rentaloffice@gov.nu.ca.

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

The Office of the Public Guardian will be closed to the public. To contact the office, please use the following contact information:

Family Support

Family Support services are ongoing. The office will be closed to the public. For information regarding your files, please contact 867-975-6112, toll free 1-800-792-4183 or fsp@gov.nu.ca.

 

 

Department of Family Services

Ongoing services:

Family Wellness

If you are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of a child and/or youth, contact your local Community Social Services Office.

If you are concerned about the services that a child or youth are receiving or have comments or compliments to share, contact us at 1-855-522-5201 or email at PublicRelationsFS@gov.nu.ca.

Social services contact information for each community can be found on the Family Wellness section of our website at https://www.gov.nu.ca/family-services/information/child-protection.

Career Development

Adult Learning Training Support (ALTS) students currently enrolled in programs will continue to receive their training allowances to the end of the fiscal year.

Adjusted services:

Income Assistance

Income Assistance appointments will be done by phone as much as possible in January with in-person appointments only as needed.

If you do not already have an appointment, call your local office to set one up. Leave a message if there is no answer, you will be advised if the appointment is in person or by phone. If you do not have access to a phone, please go directly to the Income Assistance office during your appointment time, unless you have been asked to isolate by public health. Masks and strict physical distance will be mandatory. Due to COVID-19, there is only one person allowed in the Income Assistance office at a time.

No physical cheques will be issued during the Public Health Emergency in your community. You may choose between direct deposit or direct to store. Provide your bank information to your Income Assistance Worker

  • North Qikiqtani: 1-800-567-1514
  • South Qikiqtani: 1-855-975-6580
  • Kivalliq: 1-800-953-8516
  • Kitikmeot: 1-800-661-0845

 

 

Department of Education Services

New developments in your programs/services:

K-12 Schools

  • All K-12 schools are closed until January 17, 2022 or until advised by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO).
  • School leaders may go into their school to do building checks.
  • School closures will not affect staff pay.
  • Students who are scheduled to write diploma exams in January 2022 should contact their school for further information.
  • DEA staff should follow the direction of the CPHO as it relates to attending their workplace.
  • Funding to DEAs will not be affected, and DEAs are encouraged to continue to pay their employees as normal.

Early Learning and Child Care

  • All childcare facilities in Nunavut are closed.
  • Some childcare facilities may voluntarily remain open to provide child care for the children of essential workers.
  • Government of Nunavut funding to licensed child care facilities will continue as normal.

Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students (FANS)

  • Students booking their FANS-eligible travel must follow the public health measures and recommendations of the CPHO.
  • If students have questions about their travel, they can contact the FANS office for information at fanstravel@gov.nu.ca.

Ongoing services:

Students with questions about their FANS-eligible travel can contact fanstravel@gov.nu.ca for information.
The Department of Education’s updated school health and safety plans and supports can be found at: https://gov.nu.ca/education/information/2021-22-opening-plan-nunavut-sch....

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended Services:

K-12 Schools

  • All K-12 schools are closed until January 17, 2022 or until advised by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO).

Early Learning and Child Care

  • All child care facilities in Nunavut are closed.
  • Some child care facilities may voluntarily remain open to provide child care for the children of essential workers.

 

 

Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services

Ongoing services:

Nunavut Airports

  • Access to the airport is restricted to staff, passengers, and people providing necessary assistance to passengers.
  • Masks must be worn at all times inside the airports.  
  • All staff and passengers must follow public health guidelines.

Adjusted services:

Nunavut Airports

  • Travel restrictions are in place for Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit. Travel to and from these communities is restricted to essential purposes only and for those returning to their home community or travelling to Southern Canada. 
  • Non-essential travel, especially between communities in Nunavut, is highly discouraged.

Motor Vehicles

  • On January 4, 2022, Motor Vehicle offices will begin offering remote assistance.
  • Remote assistance will be available by emailing MotorVehicles@gov.nu.ca or calling 1-888-975-5999.
  • Nunavummiut can also visit gov.nu.ca/motorvehicles to access:
    • Driver's Licence Renewals.
    • General Identification Card Renewals.
    • Vehicle Registration Renewals.
    • Requests for Driver's Abstracts, Vehicle Searches, and Accident Reports.

Community Operations:

  • On January 4, 2022, Community Operations Offices will begin work-from-home operations to provide remote assistance to Nunavummiut.
    • EDT clients in all communities are encouraged to communicate with their local Community Economic Development Officers or regional Economic Development Community Operations staff.

Community Operations Regional Office Contacts:

Kitikmeot
Jonathan Case, Manager, Community Economic Development
Toll-free phone: 1-844-475-1166
Phone: (867) 982-7445
Fax: (867) 982-3204
Email: jcase@gov.nu.ca

Kivalliq
David Fredlund, Manager, Community Economic Development
Toll-free phone: 1-844-737-8627
Phone: (867) 645-8451
Fax: (867) 645-8455
Email: dfredlund@gov.nu.ca

North Baffin
Colin Saunders, Manager, Community Economic Development
Toll-free phone: 1-888-899-7338
Phone: (867) 899-7344
Fax: (867) 899-7348
Email: csaunders@gov.nu.ca

South Baffin
Michael Peterloosie, Acting Manager, Community Economic Development
Toll-free phone: 1-888-899-7338
Phone: (867) 899-7346
Fax: (867) 899-7348
Email: mpeterloosie@gov.nu.ca

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Department of Economic Development and Transportation (EDT) staff will transition to work-from-home operations on January 4, 2022.
  • In-person meetings or training sessions hosted by the department are cancelled.
  • All non-urgent Motor Vehicles services, including driver's exams, are suspended.
  • Nunavut Visitors Centres will remain closed until further notice.

 

 

Department of Environment Services

Ongoing Services:

The Department of Environment will continue to respond to problem wildlifes and spills. All spills are to be reported to the Nunavut Spill Line at 867-920-8130, 24 hours a day: https://www.gov.nu.ca/environment/documents/spill-response   

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended Services

All wildlife offices and parks offices in Nunavut are closed to the public until further notice. For wildlife response 24 hours a day, please call:

Community Cell Number
Arctic Bay 867-975-7780 (*)
Arviat 867-857-6944
Baker Lake 867-793-1692
Cambridge Bay 867-222-2165
Chesterfield Inlet 867-222-0330
Clyde River 867-975-7780 (*)
Coral Harbour 867-222-0058
Gjoa Haven 867-982-1872 (*)
Grise Fiord 867-975-7780 (*)
Igloolik 867-975-7780 (*)
Iqaluit 867-975-7780
Kimmirut 867-975-7780 (*)
Kinngait 867-975-7780 (*)
Kugaaruk 867-982-1872 (*)
Kugluktuk 867-982-1872
Naujaat 867-222-1437
Pangnirtung 867-975-7780 (*)
Pond Inlet 867-899-1885
Qikiqtarjuaq 867-975-7780 (*)
Rankin Inlet 867-645-6447
Resolute Bay 867-222-3899
Sanikiluaq 867-975-7780 (*)
Sanirajak 867-975-7780 (*)
Taloyoak 867-982-1872 (*)
Whale Cove 867-341-0388

 

 

Department of Human Resources Services

New developments in your programs/ services:  All GN Offices will be closed to the public.  Only essential workers will attend workplaces.

Ongoing services: 

The GN will transition to have non-essential public servants work from home effective January 4 – 14, 2022.  Essential service positions will continue to work in-office if required, with limited numbers.  GN employees will work with supervisors to find ways to perform duties and job requirements away from the office.

Adjusted services: 

All departments/corporations (including HR) will determine what essential services can/will be delivered in the “Work from Home” method.  This may inevitably delay responses or services to their respective clients.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services: 

HR buildings will be closed to the public until January 17, 2022.  Training program deliveries and job interviews scheduled for January 4 - 17 will be reviewed on a case-by-case course depending on participants ability to join online while working from home.

 

 

Department of Community and Government services

New developments in your programs/ services:

  • In early January CGS will initiate remote meetings with municipalities and stakeholder to review and update Community Emergency Response Plans in relation to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  • CGS will schedule regular “remote” meetings with municipal administrators to discuss program changes and opportunities for the upcoming year.

Ongoing services:

  • CGS will continue to provide support services to municipalities and departments, although these services will be delivered remotely.

Adjusted services:

  • CGS Emergency Management and Municipal Works will be working with the Municipal Training Organization to evaluate alternative training delivery of options to meet training objectives within COVID measures.
  • CGS Sport and Recreation will moving annual Sport Awards to “virtual” instead of “in-person” event scheduled for Iqaluit January 22, 2022.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • CGS Sport and Recreation awards will be rescheduled and held virtually.
  • Training courses sponsored through CGS, and delivered through MTO will be delayed until public health measures permit “in person” learning or a suitable online equivalent can be established.

 

 

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.