COVID-19 4th wave expected in Nunavik
Infectious disease expert says region may see higher cases due to the spread of new variants in the south
People in Nunavik should expect a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the coming weeks, says the clinical lead in infectious disease for Nunavik’s Department of Public Health.
Dr. Yassen Tcholakov says the spread of new variants in southern Canada is contributing to a rise of cases there.
This includes the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which the World Health Organization is monitoring.
“We’re just trying to prepare the population for what we’re seeing elsewhere in the province and elsewhere in the world,” Tcholakov said.
In Nunavik, there are 37 active cases reported in the region of about 12,000 people, as of July 7.
Tcholakov said virus mutations, plus times of the year when people spend more time indoors, drive the spread of COVID-19.
“There’ll be times where there’ll be less COVID, there’ll be times where there’ll be more COVID,” he said.
“COVID constantly changes a bit and some of the new strains may be more infectious.”
Tcholakov said it’s important to note the infections caused by the new Omicron subvariants do not seem to be as severe as those seen during previous waves involving other variants.
The best way for Nunavimmiut to protect themselves from COVID-19 continues to be through vaccination, he said.
While mandatory masking and testing requirements are no longer in place, Tcholakov encouraged people to “adjust and reduce their personal level of risk.”
Globally, reported cases have increased nearly three per cent over the past two weeks, according to the World Health Organization.