Boredom partly to blame for ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Arviat, says Patterson

Health officials announce 12 new cases Monday, urge people to stay home

It’s been more than 100 days since health officials first detected COVID-19 in Arviat. The government announced 12 new cases in the community Monday. (Illustration by Fusion Medial Animation on Unsplash)

By Nunatsiaq News

Arviat’s troubles controlling an outbreak of COVID-19 in the community might stem from the fact people are just plain tired of the pandemic.

“Fatigue and boredom are becoming real factors in our ability to limit the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory’s chief public health officer, in a news release Monday.

The release announced 12 new cases in the community, one day after Premier Joe Savikataaq announced one new case. The government announced six new cases Saturday.

The number of active cases in the territory now sits at 33, all in Arviat, according to the release, and all of those affected are recovering at home.

Patterson acknowledged it has been more than 100 days since COVID-19 was detected in the community.

Arviat has been the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nunavut since it was first detected in the territory, seeing 307 out of the 351 total cases across the territory.

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

It seemed as though Arviat had defeated its outbreak in early January, when the government reported active cases in the community had dropped to zero.

But weeks later, public-health officials announced they had detected the virus in the community again. Nunavut’s chief medical officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said at the time there isn’t any evidence to suggest COVID-19 ever left the community, which means these new cases are believed to be a continuation of the original outbreak.

Health officials do not believe there is community transmission in Arviat — meaning public-health officials have been able to trace the origin of each case they’ve found.

Patterson continues to urge people in Arviat to stay home, limit contact with others and call the health centre at the onset of any symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Travel to and from Arviat is restricted to medical emergencies.

Meanwhile, vaccine clinics continue across the territory. Here is the schedule:

Baker Lake — Feb. 22 to 25

Kimmirut — March 1

Qikiqtarjuaq — March 1 to 2

Kugluktuk — March 1 to 3

Kinngait — March 3 to 5

Taloyoak — March 9 to 10

Iqaluit — Clinics ongoing for high-priority groups

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(24) Comments:

  1. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    Gn your measures are clearly not working in Arviat regarding the Covid outbreak. Time to do something else. It is getting ridiculous. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for the majority or Arviamiut following the rules locked up at home.

  2. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    And I’m tired of all the idiots out there who continue to flaunt the guidelines and allow this virus to perpetuate itself.
    It is not rocket science people. Stay home. Do not meet with people outside of your household. Wear a mask whenever you are outside of your own house. Wash your hands. Show some respect for everyone else in your community. Social distance.
    Most of you can remember when the first case occurred in Arviat that I suggested that the GN call the Canadian Forces out and institute a hard lock down along with community wide testing to eliminate the virus. That was 100 days ago. Asking nicely for everyone to follow all the rules does not work.
    When Coronavirus started in Canada I was all for closing the borders tight and enforcing a rigourous stay-at-home order until the virus was eliminated. Look at New Zealand, Vietnam, Australia. And then look at Canada and even worse, look at the U.S.
    Under our failed federal and provincial leadership we will be lucky to have Covid-19 reduced to under 500 cases a day by the end of 2021, and maybe, maybe eliminated in Canada by 2022, or 2023 if we are lucky.

    People are still getting sick and dying of this disease every day. Apparently shopping is more important to most of our politicians than people’s lives. Looking at Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and other provinces who are opening back up without getting Covid-19 to a manageable level.
    The number one duty of a government is to keep it’s citizens safe. Can anyone in Canada honestly say that our federal or provincial/territorial governments have done that during this pandemic crisis?
    Failed leadership right from the start and it continues more than a year later. Yeah, I’m fed up too!

    • Posted by Alan Klie on

      I think you mean “FLOUT the rules”.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Alan, thank you for the correction, FLOUT is indeed the appropriate word that I should have used.

  3. Posted by Bubba on

    Arviat strong!

    • Posted by Uvagut on

      I don’t think so but we wish
      If they are bored then wait a short time and be free of this bug so you can get over this 100+ day boredom.

  4. Posted by Consistency on

    How about a Covid household number. The 12 new cases today, was that because 1 person brought in Covid to the house yesterday so now 13 of the 18 people in 1 house have covid (so tomorrow there will be 5 new cases)? or is this 12 new households , which probably mean another possible 3-10 per household could be positive for Covid tomorrow.

  5. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    All the excuses in the world folks. But, the Old Trapper is right. STAY HOME.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      Rules are made for the majority, and are followed. I keep saying; there are few (too many really) who will not obey, these are the junkies, gamblers and the partiers. Until these dissenters are curbed and forced to stay home during the night by an (the) authority (ties), Arviat will not cure its-self for a long time…not to mention lack of discipline by the retailers whom the king is $$$, wow, crowded stores.

      • Posted by Consistency on

        If this is going to happen then the Hamlet (Mayor) needs to create the enforcement team from Arvimiut. It will not help anyone to have Military or RCMP telling people to stay in their homes. have community members telling others to stay home and if they dont within the community share the names of those that dont listen. also I think the enforcement team should be made up of at least one member from each major family group. That way it is an Uncle/Aunt, or Attatatiaq/Annanatiaq (Grandpa/Grandma) telling there relatives to go home.

        • Posted by The Old Trapper on

          I thought that the Elders already told people to stay home and to follow the rules – over three months ago. And remember it’s the Elders that are most at risk.
          Let’s face it, the people who ignore the rules are too selfish to listen. Yes they should be called out, and by name. But you know what? That’s probably not going to stop them.
          They are either too selfish, or think too much of themselves, or think that this whole Covid-19 thing is a hoax. Yes even after 21,000+ Canadian have died of Covid-19, and 2.4 million around the world have died of the virus.

          The authorities, starting with the Mayor should have an enforce curfew, and regular patrols both at night and in the daytime. If that doesn’t work use the RCMP.
          At this rate it’s only a matter of time until more people die.

          • Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

            Yes I agree it is time to have stiff penalties for people breaking the Health directives especially for those who have Covid and who are supposed to be quarantining at home and are going out in public. Other provinces have been doing this for a while. That would probably serve as a deterrent for other people? Right now those selfish people know nothing will happen to them by flouting the order. The time for being nice is over , it does not work. Government offices have been shut down for months now, this is not good for the rest of the region who need their services.

  6. Posted by Actually living in Arviat on

    If Arviat’s reputation was already suffering in Nunavut, the pandemic has hammered nail after nail into that coffin. It is JUST as bad as it looks from the outside. People have been breaking isolation from the start, and aren’t even embarrassed about it. Fully walking around town and meeting their friends. I have witnessed this first-hand. Just the other day a woman went to the crowded Northern to shop and was kicked out because she was known to be Covid positive and isolating. Her response? “Well are you going to kick out everybody else in here who should be isolating???” The shenanigans never end. The Hamlet and the health team (both permanent and temporary) are bending over backwards to do all they can, but they are no match for selfishness and stupidity of a *minority* of Arviat residents. Good luck attracting new teachers, nurses, or skilled government workers from down south now! The whole country thinks this place is a joke, especially when right next door Rankin and Whale Cove nipped their outbreaks in the bud.

    • Posted by ian on

      Joe,Joe,John, put a show on yesterday,at the ledge,trying to blame everybody but Arviat,yea bad old GN.Time for another draw to keep people home this time,SAD

  7. Posted by Unimpressed on

    Arviat people not looking very clever right now.

  8. Posted by JK on

    Arviat was unlucky enough to get the “spark” early on that started this thing and then careless enough that they didn’t heed the warnings and the rules.
    But the people in the community I live in are also not following the rules, hugging and kissing at the store, masks off of course, card games, boozy parties, etc.
    It’s sheer dumb luck that every community in Nunavut is not in the same boat as Arviat.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      Once this thing bites you, and many in communities have no regards for others; it’s very hard to shake-off, imagine if it were to reach Iqaluit (and it will eventually), wow that is going to be the problems because Iqaluit is (appears to be) the home of the social ills of Nunavut. you have been very fortunate, very lucky so far. it only takes one person…unintentionally and; but there are few who just don’t give a rat’s ass. Be careful; you have daily flights from Montreal and Ottawa and lot of tokers passing through.

  9. Posted by Blame Game on

    I love how our public health officials and Dr. Patterson take no responsibility for what has unfolded here. Yes, some people in Arviat appear to be morons. Granted. However, public health officials know that the public consists of morons and need to plan for it.
    Dr. Patterson should take personal responsibility for completely and utterly refusing to ensure public health measures are enforced in the territory. Don’t make rules unless you are prepared to enforce them.
    Oh wait, the solution is to play the broken record we all know and have all heard – please stay home. Wash your hands. Blah blah blah.
    Whatever you do, don’t start laying charges and fines!

    • Posted by Consistency on

      What is the GN supposed to do. The individuals that dont care about the rules and just do what they want are also often (not always) the ones that are in over crowed housing, live pay check to paycheck (or on Income support). If you fine them either they will not pay anyway (then what? jail?) and if they do pay then they have less to feed their family so that means the GN or someone ends up needing to step up to help them sot he kids have food. which because that will (and should) happen loosing that $250 bucks to the fine will mean nothing by the next week and no one will learn.
      It really has to be the community that deals with the problem makers.
      Publicly state no one from their family (grandparent’s, parents, siblings, kids) is eligible for a Polar bear Tag for the next two years. with so few tags available already maybe this would add pressure. but has to come from the community not from Iqaluit.

      • Posted by Then What on

        There are old solutions to people who don’t pay fines that can be employed. If they don’t pay their fines then take their social assistance. Take their property. Take their social housing lease. Take it all.
        If people cannot feed their children because they are breaking the law, they are the same as if they use all their money for drugs and neglect the needs of their children, only stupidity getting fined can’t be blamed on addiction. If they can’t feed them, then children should be apprehended. Exposing them to the risk of covid is justification enough for apprehend.
        Enforcement means doing something and forcing they pay for their actions. The government has the tools but not the backbone. It is why we have millions of dollars in unpaid child support – they don’t collect.
        There is no point to having rules if there are no consequences to breaking them.

  10. Posted by Hunter on

    Time for the Canadian army to step in and curfew the community. Arviat stay strong – well start using your heads. Stay home etc.

  11. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    Well if fining people will not help, maybe shaming them publicly over the local radio will? Or, Make a public list like what is done in some places in Canada for dead beat dads who do not support their children through child support once the couple is no longer together. There has to be meaningful consequences for people who disobey rules, especially serious ones during a pandemic where people can die and have died , 21,000 so far in Canada. What if that was your parent, grand parent? My Uncle died of Covid this past
    year. I know how it hurts families deeply. These people are gone forever.

  12. Posted by Be prepared on

    Better to be Worry of your Communities instead of Worrying of Arviat! Follow the Guidelines/Protocols. Nunavut is Unprepared enough since the Pandemic started Last year March. Y’all understand when it Hits your Communities.

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