No decision made to reopen schools to students, says Nunavut’s education minister

Nunavut’s schools won’t reopen to students without the blessing of the territory’s chief public health officer, Education Minister David Joanasie said at a news conference on Wednesday, April 8. He offered the remarks after the territory’s teachers were asked to return to their home communities by April 21. “I want to reassure Nunavummiut that today and going forward, all of our work ahead is on the advice and recommendation of the chief public health officer,” Joanasie said. Right now, 93 teachers are out of the territory, which represents eight per cent of the teachers in Nunavut, Joanasie said. Any teachers currently out of the territory must undergo a 14-day isolation period in one of four hotels in the south under the Government of Nunavut’s mandatory isolation requirements. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, will reassess if schools will reopen to students on April 21. Joanasie also said the Nunavut Teachers’ Association and the Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities support the decision to bring teachers back. Story to come. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

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Mining company helps fill hampers in Nunavut community

Volunteers and municipal staff in Rankin Inlet helped prepare 30 of these hampers, filled with food and cleaning supplies, to go out to families in the community of about 3,000, with another 30 hampers on their way shortly. The effort was made possible by a $25,000 donation from Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many Rankin Inlet residents have lost incomes while businesses have been shut down or reduced their efforts during this health crisis,” said an April 2 release from the Municipality of Rankin Inlet. (Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Rankin Inlet/Facebook)

COVID-19 offers another reason to quit smoking, vaping

Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief medical officer, is urging residents who smoke or vape to quit to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. “Smoking and vaping are linked with increased risk of catching COVID-19, but also with more severe complications from COVID-19,” Patterson said a news conference on Tuesday, April 7. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

ITK shares free colouring pages for kids

This image of Arctic char by Jonathan Cousins is one of several colouring pages offered online by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to help entertain Inuit children at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image courtesy of ITK)

Nunavut mine’s COVID-19 testing no substitute for isolation, says chief medical officer

As of today, 356 people in Nunavut have been tested for COVID-19, with 247 under investigation and 109 people cleared. At a news conference earlier today, Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief medical officer, addressed an announcement made by Agnico Eagle late Sunday night that it would begin a pilot project to test workers for COVID-19. “At this time, there is no evidence that screening in this fashion is a substitute for 14 days of isolation,” Patterson said. The mine announced that starting today, it would offer testing to workers at its Meliadine mine site outside Rankin Inlet on a voluntary basis. “As a result, I informed management at Agnico Eagle that these tests do not change the current requirement for mine staff to stay out of the town of Rankin Inlet,” Patterson said. He also said the testing equipment used by Agnico Eagle does not meet Canadian standards and the Department of Health continues to pursue equipment that will allow testing to be done in all of Nunavut’s communities. See our story later at (Photo by Emma Tranter)

Stay home for us

Members of Nunavut Lifeline, the medevac service operated by Keewatin Air, pose for a photo with an important message: “Nunavut we fly here for you, please stay home for us.” As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow across the globe, similar photos of health-care workers and first responders have appeared on social media, reminding people to self-isolate to help slow the pandemic’s spread. (Photo courtesy of Mel Hubbard)

To fight COVID-19 spread Greenland erects tent camp for homeless

If you are homeless in or around Nuuk, Greenland, you can now live in these heated weather havens, put up by the Sermersooq municipality to aid social distancing and combat the spread of COVID-19. On Friday, the first 30 homeless people moved into the camp, with tents rented from Xploration Services Greenland. As of this weekend, 11 people had tested positive for the virus in Greenland, where the government has passed an emergency measures act forbidding, among other things, gatherings of more than 10 people. (Photo courtesy of the Sermersooq municipality)

Nunavik declares three more COVID-19 cases

Three more COVID-19 cases have been declared in Nunavik, all in the Hudson Bay community of Puvirnituq, shown here. “The patients are not in critical condition; they are isolated at home and are being monitored daily by health professionals,” the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said on Sunday, April 5. “These new cases bring the cumulative total to five (5) cases for the region of Nunavik.… As of today, it is also confirmed that the first positive case, identified in Salluit, has now fully recovered from the virus.” One previous case had also been identified last week in Puvirnituq. Read more later at (Photo by Jane George)

$2M in community food programs announced by NTI, Nunavut government

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Aluki Kotierk, seen here, and Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq announced on Friday, April 3, over $2 million in funding for community food programs for children and elders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be given directly to hamlets to deliver programming that fits each community’s needs. See our story later at (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

Plenty of swag for CamBay bingo players

Wayne Gregory and Valter Botelho-Resendes stand next to a table laden with prizes they later handed out to lucky bingo players on Saturday, March 28, in Cambridge Bay. The community-wide bingo, sponsored by the hamlet, was promoted as a stay-at-home, social distancing affair. Another bingo is scheduled for this coming Saturday evening. (Photo courtesy of the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay)