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COVID-19 GN Update - March 19, 2020

19 March 2020

COVID-19 GN Update

The latest information from the Government of Nunavut:

  • As of today, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the territory.
  • The public health communicable disease team is following approximately 70 persons under investigation. 24 people previously under investigation have been cleared and no longer require isolation.
  • Our government today approved $25,000 to each Hunter and Trapper Organization for community harvesting, and to provide food to their communities.
  • We also are pleased that we have approved $531,000 to cover potential lost fees for Nunavut’s child care workers in licensed facilities, so that they do not have to worry about lost wages.
  • Anyone who travelled into Nunavut on or since Sunday, March 15 needs to self-isolate for 14 days and contact their health centre if they develop symptoms.
  • The Government of Nunavut (GN) transition to work-from-home for non-essential public servants is ongoing.
  • The GN is working on options to keep food banks/ soup kitchens open territory-wide.
  • We are asking Nunavummiut to not rush out to stock up on groceries – we are still getting supplies and food. COVID-19 will not cause shortages in our store, but stockpiling will. Please get what you need and leave enough for everyone.
  • Listen to the advice of Health professionals, practise social distancing and continue to follow preventive measures.
  • Please call your health centre before going there. It is important that they assess you by phone.
  • GN will continue to deliver services to Nunavummiut.
  • As of March 20, all bars will be closed.
  • All restaurants will remain open only for take-out/delivery and only allow up to 10 people for line-ups. Pharmacies, gas stations, and grocery stores will remain open.

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 update

A Public Health Emergency has been declared.

  • All Health essential services to continue.
  • All Health staff are essential and will be re-deployed as necessary. 

Health is instituting a screening process for all medical travel clients before receiving clearance to travel home.

Community members are asked to avoid attending health centres and the hospital whenever possible to avoid risk of transmission of viral illness.

Ongoing services:

  • Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services continues territory-wide.
  • Emergency dental treatment remains available in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet, and Iqaluit. Travel, if approved, will be to the nearest appropriate facility from the client’s place of residence.
  • Mental Health Services remain available and unchanged in communities.
  • Mental Health Nurse services at Qikiqtani General Hospital remain available and unchanged.
  • The Mental Health Program will be hosting community radio shows across the territory where possible
  • The Youth Wellness team is offering phone-based counselling support:
    • Current clients and others who need support may call 867-979-7661.
    • For new referrals, please contact Susan Mazur at 867-975-5999.
  • Physicians will continue community visits. If this is not possible, the visits will be conducted by telehealth. Visiting physicians will undergo screening.
  • In Iqaluit, Public Health remains open. 
  • Well baby clinics, prenatal visits and immunizations are continuing across Nunavut.
  • Mental Health services remain the same in communities. 
  • Options are being pursued for additional crisis debriefing and counselling support via telephone and telehealth.
  • The office of patient relations can be contacted at the usual email address: patientrelations@gov.nu.ca.
  • Boarding homes have enhanced their cleaning protocols.

Adjusted services:

  • Direct patient relations phone service is currently unavailable, but a solution is being developed.
  • In Iqaluit; mental health counselling will be completed by phone (via central intake phone line: 867-975-5999).
  • At Qikiqtani General Hospital: For non-emergency situations please call first before coming to the hospital. Clinical sessions will be completed over the phone where possible.
  • Health is limiting visitations to Qikiqtani General Hospital and community health centres.
  • At Qikiqtani General Hospital: visitors are restricted to one visitor per patient (preference given to parents and escorts).
  • Rehab appointments are being assessed, and some may be postponed.
  • Youth wellness team is available only to meet with youth on a 1:1 basis by appointment
  • All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily.
  • Outpatients are redirected at Akausisarvik so they do not mix with the residents.
  • Youth workers are not having drop-in hours or any group activities but are still available to see youth 1:1 if necessary. 
  • All Continuing Care Centres have been instructed to restrict visitation where possible – and for those coming into the facility be screened before entering.
  • Qikiqtani General Hospital and Health Centres have limited visitation. One visitor per patient.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Cafeteria access at Qikiqtani General Hospital is restricted.
  • All regularly scheduled dental services are cancelled until further notice.
  • At Community Health Centres: visitation to Health Care Facilities has stopped.
  • All non-essential medical travel outside of the territory, has been postponed:
    • Appointments that are postponed will be either rescheduled to a later date, moved to telehealth, or will be completed in-territory.
    • Health is working with referring specialists to prioritize essential medical travel.
    • All medical travel clients will be screened for possible COVID-19 illness prior to receiving clearance to travel home.
    • Travellers unable to return home immediately will remain on medical travel status – they will be provided support for meals, accommodation, transportation and case management.
    • If required, isolation will be supported via private rooms at boarding homes or hotels.
  • All in-person training courses facilitated by the Quality of Life Secretariat scheduled for March and April are cancelled.
  • In-territory specialty clinics are cancelled.
  • Youth Wellness Team drop-in counselling sessions, afterschool programs, outreach, and camps scheduled for March and April are cancelled.

 

Department of Justice Services update

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.

The department of Justice will continue to provide support to Nunavummiut under the Family Abuse Intervention Act during this time. Safety is still our number one concern and we will continue to ensure our services are available where needed.

The Department of Justice is focusing on the health and safety of staff, inmates and the communities. We have developed contingency plans to ensure we are able to continue operations.

Ongoing services:

  • Front line services under community justice will continue.
  • Nunavut Court of Justice will continue to hear urgent matters during this time.
  • Unless otherwise stated, remaining departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily. 

Adjusted services:

  • The Department of Justice is asking all community corrections clients to report by phone to their Community Corrections Officer.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Community corrections offices will be closed for in-person client visits until further notice.
  • Nunavut Community Justice offices will be closed to the public, starting on Monday, March 23, 2020.
  • All visitations to the facilities are suspended to ensure the health and safety of our inmates and staff.
  • The Nunavut Court of Justice (NCJ) has suspended regular operations.

 

Department of Education Services update

Education and several GN departments are working closely together to reduce the impact school closures have on food programs.

The Department of Education will be providing funds to all licensed child care facilities. This funding will be equal to the parental fees licenced child care facilities would be normally receiving during this three-week closure.

This will allow licenced child care facilities to not charge parental fees for this period but still pay their staff as normal.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • All schools and child care facilities in Nunavut are closed for a three-week period, starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

 

Department of Family Services update

The GN is working with shelter societies to enable extended hours as well as utilize potential additional spaces to enable more social distancing. There are only three shelters in Nunavut that currently closed during the day.

Unless otherwise stated, remaining departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily.

FANS and ALTs

  • Students should remain at their school location until such time that the semester is officially ended. At this point, classes are suspended, not cancelled.
  • Student residences remain open, and students are permitted to stay at the school’s residence until the end of April. The schools are also continuing their food services.
  • To ensure that there is no financial hardship for our out-of-territory students, those who receive funding from FANS or ALTS will continue to receive funding for as long as they are away from home.

Adjusted services:

  • All Income Assistance, Career Development and Family Wellness clients are asked to call to arrange an appointment, instead of dropping by our offices: 
    • Every client should call and set an appointment time and date in order to limit large gatherings in our waiting areas.

 

Department of Economic Development and Transportation services update

Unless otherwise stated, remaining departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • All Driver Examinations are cancelled until April 7.
  • Group programming in Visitors Centres is suspended.

 

Department of Culture and Heritage

Unless otherwise stated, departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • The Iqaluit library is now closed to the public.

 

Department of Environment Services update

The department is considering possible ways to continue services while maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols.

Essential services like problem wildlife response and spill response continue as normal.

Unless otherwise stated, remaining departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Due to school and day-care closures, the following wildlife offices are closed
    • Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Sanikiluaq, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Nauyaat, Kugaaruk, Taloyoak.
    • In these communities, HTO’s are being informed of how to contact the department in the event or an urgent situation such as a spill or problem wildlife incident.

 

Department of Human Resources services update

Human Resources is working with Departments of Justice, Family Services, and Health to determine what additional supports they may need. 

Human Resources is meeting with WSCC to discuss how best to work together. Human Resources is also meeting with NEU regarding updates.

Unless otherwise stated, remaining departmental services are expected to operate as usual. Updates are provided daily.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Upcoming Staff Housing Allocation Committee meetings are cancelled.
  • The Summer Student Employment Equity Program is on hold and may be launched at a later date.

 

 

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.