Nunavut’s Kivalliq communities adopt more COVID-19 preventive measures
“Together, apart, we can get through this”
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.
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.
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.”