Coronavirus not currently a risk in Nunavik, says regional health board
Preventive measures discussed with Kativik Regional Government
KUUJJUAQ—Nunavimmiut are not currently at risk of coronavirus, but the local health authority is still taking precautions, Minnie Grey, executive director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, told Kativik Regional Government councillors on Thursday, Feb. 27.
“This started in China, we hear that it’s infectious on the news and that even in Italy we hear it is spreading,” Grey said. “But we want you to know that in Nunavik we are not at risk at the moment.”
For the past couple of months, the highly contagious virus has been in the headlines with cases documented across the world—including a Quebec couple who caught the virus on board a cruise ship.
“Up to now in Nunavik, we are not at risk, that’s what we’ve been told and our doctors and both health centres have made plans in case there is a case of someone infected with that virus,” Grey said.
She said any known cases are reported to Quebec’s ministry of health, and all health centres in the province are kept informed by the ministry.
“Our doctors have a meeting on this daily to see what news is there so we can be updated,” she said.
“We are still concerned about it because it is infectious worldwide.”
To address some of the risk, Grey said any health-care workers who travel out of the country and are at risk of infection are told to stay away from the region for two weeks—the window in which symptoms appear.
Jobie Tukkiapik, regional councillor for Kuujjuaq, asked whether elders and young children are at particular risk from coronavirus.
Grey said these vulnerable people are more susceptible and reminded anyone who could possibly be at risk to avoid crowds and contact with the public.
The coronavirus results in flu-like symptoms with a fever, cough and trouble breathing. It’s transmitted person to person in the air, and is a risk to any person travelling abroad, Grey said.
But it is not known to be carried by other means, such as through international shipments, she said.
“People who are infected are able to go to the health centres,” she said.