Canadian High Arctic Research Station acts to reduce COVID-19 risk

“Preventive measures are focused on protecting Polar’s employees and Cambridge Bay residents”

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station is closing off access to its campus, among other measures, to limit the risk of spreading the new coronavirus around Cambridge Bay and the region. (File photo)

By Jane George

Polar Knowledge Canada, the federal agency that runs the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, says it will take several preventive measures in response to COVID-19.

“These preventive measures are focused on protecting Polar’s employees and Cambridge Bay residents by limiting the number of outside visitors to the CHARS campus and implementing additional public health measures within the agency,” said David Scott, the president and CEO of Polar Knowledge, in a March 13 news release.

The actions follow an earlier request from Cambridge Bay Mayor Pamela Gross that those who planned to visit the western Nunavut community of about 1,800 for “business or pleasure” support the municipality by reconsidering their travel arrangements.

As of March 13, Polar Knowledge said it would do the following:

  • Cancel all planned visits to CHARS, including the main research building, the field and maintenance building, and the triplex accommodations.
  • Suspend the use of the CHARS public spaces.
  • Postpone all scheduled outside researcher support services at CHARS.
  • Suspend all work-related travel for Polar Knowledge Canada staff.
  • Encourage staff to continue adopting public health measures such as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and cleaning of frequently used surfaces and objects.

Polar Knowledge Canada said it would continue to work with its local partners “to help protect the health and safety of its staff as well as community members, elders and youth in the Cambridge Bay area.”

As of March 13, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

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