Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on November 24, 2020. The territory plans to start lifting a two-week lockdown due to COVID-19 spread on Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter

Nunavut to start lifting its two-week lockdown as COVID-19 cases recover

Nunavut to start lifting its two-week lockdown as COVID-19 cases recover

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is to start lifting a two-week lockdown on Wednesday as more people infected with COVID-19 recover.

The lockdown that shuttered all schools and non-essential businesses was put in place on Nov. 18 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that first appeared in the territory early this month.

Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory’s chief public health officer, said Monday that 73 people had recovered from COVID-19 and 108 cases remained active. There were also four new cases, bringing Nunavut’s total to 181.

No one who contracted COVID-19 in Nunavut has been hospitalized. Patterson said that’s partly because more than half of the infections have been in residents under the age of 40.

Only Arviat, which had 86 active cases, will remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks, said Paterson. Travel to the community will still be restricted.

“Until we can be absolutely certain that there is no community transmission of COVID-19 in Arviat, restrictions will remain in effect for that community,” Patterson told a news conference.

Arviat is experiencing “an infectious disease outbreak in crowded housing,” so cases might continue to rise for a bit longer, he added.

“There is a chance that it will continue to spread for a little bit even within the houses that we’ve identified.”

There were still eight active cases in Rankin Inlet and 14 in Whale Cove, but Patterson said there has been no community transmission in either community, so restrictions can be eased.

“We’ve identified all the houses that have cases of COVID-19 and all recent transmission in those two communities has been related to the people living in those houses,” he said.

“The risk of it spreading elsewhere is small and less than the harms associated with the very strict measures that are in place.”

Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove are all coastal communities in the Kivalliq region on the western edge of Hudson Bay and have borne the brunt of the outbreak.

Schools will be allowed to open in both Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, but elementary school students will attend three days a week and high school students will attend two days weekly on staggered schedules.

Government offices and all businesses will be allowed to open, but physical distancing will have to be maintained.

Travel to and from Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet will also be allowed starting Wednesday, but Patterson said his office still strongly advises against non-essential travel.

Outdoor gatherings in the two communities will be restricted to 50 people, while gatherings in homes will have to stick to household members plus 10 others.

Arenas have to remain closed, as well as hair salons and barber shops. Restaurants can only be open for takeout. Gyms will only be able to offer space for solo workouts.

In communities with no COVID-19 cases, students will attend school two to three days a week on staggered schedules.

Restaurants will be allowed to open at half capacity. Businesses will be able to operate as long as people maintain physical distancing.

Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 50 people and gatherings in homes will be limited to the household plus 15 people.

Arenas and personal services will also be able to resume.

Patterson warned that if another outbreak were to occur, restrictions would be reintroduced.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.

Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read