Hamlets in central Nunavut are taking further precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after the territory’s first infection was confirmed on April 30 in Pond Inlet. (File photo)

Nunavut’s Kivalliq communities adopt more COVID-19 preventive measures

“Together, apart, we can get through this”

By Jane George

Hamlet councils in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region have taken further action to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, following Nunavut’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet.

“We would like to pass along our heart-filled thoughts and prayers to the residents of Pond Inlet. We are thinking of you during this difficult time,” said a statement from the hamlet council, which also announced a new nightly curfew would be in place immediately from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The curfew applies to everyone except for emergency and essential workers, as well as hunters leaving and entering the community.

The hamlet leaders also asked everyone in the community of about 3,000 to keep their children at home.

Meanwhile, they said they would deliver a new batch of cleaning supplies, more bingo cards for the next free bingo game, and a box of toys and games to each household “to help keep us entertained while at home.”

The hamlet also asked for each household to send only one person to stores now and to avoid shopping at peak hours to limit crowds and improve social distancing.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

If everyone respects these measures, and “if there is no COVID-19 in Arviat at the time,” the planned fishing derbies will move ahead, the hamlet said.

The mayor of Baker Lake, Richard Aksawnee, similarly told people in his community of about 2,200 “not to panic,” but he also urged them to observe the most recent Nunavut public health order on social distancing and the ban on gatherings.

Aksawnee said in an online statement that everyone should only interact with members of their immediate household and avoid large gatherings, or even small gatherings in smaller places, “such as a card game night with your friends at your dinner table.”

Following the news about the first COVID-19 case in Pond Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet’s hamlet council went one step further to maintain isolation: they passed a motion that says visitors are not wanted at the western Hudson Bay community of about 600.

“Any person wishing to come to Chesterfield Inlet to visit is not allowed until further notice,” the hamlet said late on Thursday, April 30.

Residents of Chesterfield inlet who are coming home will still be allowed to return, but they will have to isolate for 14 days in their home, the hamlet said.

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While some in Rankin Inlet urged their community leaders to adopt a similar travel motion, municipal councillors said they would favour other measures to keep the new coronavirus out of the town.

These measures include getting masks to residents.

Some will come from the Nunavut government, but the municipality said its staff and volunteers have also put together 175 mask-making kits for distribution.

The municipality asked everyone in the community of about 3,000 to continue social distancing and washing their hands.

“The confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet stresses the importance of the measures Rankin Inlet has been following since we all started dealing with this virus,” said Morag Macpherson, Rankin Inlet’s SAO, in a release.

“Please keep a social, six-foot distance between yourself and others when you are out and don’t go out unless you need to. Together, apart, we can get through this.”

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    It might seem excessive to many that you need to keep 2 meters away from your friends, or to wear a mask if you are in public, especially that there has been only 1 case of Covid-19 in Nunavut, and that’s in Pond Inlet.
    Just remember that as long as there are hundreds of cases in southern Canada, anyone who comes north could be carrying the virus, despite the best efforts of the GN to prevent this.
    We are going to get a handle on this virus. Every day we are getting better and better at controlling our behaviour, and reducing the spread of the virus. The problem is that some provinces are better than others, have a more dense population and had a much higher infection rate before our actions could take effect.
    I would urge everyone to do all you can in the next 1 to 2 months to be safe and to practice good social distancing and other behaviours.
    Two months ago, on March 4th there were 32 cases of Covid-19 identified in Canada. A month ago on April 4th there were 13,989 cases, and yesterday there were 59,446, and at least 3,778 deaths. This is real.
    Even with that the numbers are decreasing in most provinces, and some (PEI and NB) are doing an excellent job with virtually no new cases for weeks.
    If we are all in this together we can really reduce the threat of Covid-19 in the next 1 to 2 months.

  2. Posted by Georgia s. on

    I don’t get why places where there is no covid are forcing people to act like this. Especially places with no roads in and out. Trying to train people incase, sure, or practicing to get used to forced social order. No cases where I am and same thing. Treating me like children and kids being like in jail with parents only. No school, library, activities because another isolated community has 1 case. For what? Practice incase? Should have paid more attention in 2012 when these federal laws were in the works. I don’t think there should be any way govt can force such actions if there is no immediate public health risk.

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