Nunavut has eight new COVID-19 cases, the territorial government said in a news release on Friday. (File image)

Several Nunavut residents with COVID-19 medevaced south this week

“They’re in a hospital in Winnipeg and stable”

By Dustin Patar

A handful of Nunavut residents with COVID-19 have been evacuated to a Winnipeg hospital over the past week, government officials say.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, disclosed the medevacs at a Friday news conference, saying there had been “less than five” over the past week.

“We’re not going to discuss numbers and not going to discuss community of origin,” he said.

“They’re in a hospital in Winnipeg and stable.”

When Patterson was asked a similar question earlier this week, on Nov. 30, he said at that time that no Nunavummiut have had to be medevaced south because of COVID-19.

The Government of Nunavut announced eight new cases of COVID-19 in the territory on Friday, all of them in Arviat, bringing that community’s total active cases to 44.

The only other Nunavut community with active COVID-19 cases in Whale Cove, with seven cases. All COVID-19 cases in Rankin Inlet have now recovered.

Territory-wide, there are 51 active COVID-19 cases, while 155 people have now recovered.

“We are moving in the right direction and we can be optimistic,” said Patterson.

“But this does not mean that we can relax on the public health measures and it doesn’t mean that the outbreaks are over.”

Across Canada, more than 396,000 cases have been reported since March when the pandemic began.

With continued talks regarding the possible distribution of a vaccine across the country in the coming weeks, Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said that he has been lobbying his federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to have Nunavut placed on the priority list because of its location and the challenges of delivering vaccines to all 25 communities.

“To deliver the vaccine in our communities, it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort,” Kusugak said.

Vaccine logistics is also a concern for Patterson.

“My best information that I have right now is that that first vaccine will be the Pfizer one that requires storage at -80 C and has very strict shipping limitations,” he said.

“As a result, I don’t know of anyone who thinks it’s really appropriate for most remote or isolated communities to use that vaccine.”

Instead, Patterson believes that the Moderna vaccine will likely be the one to see eventual distribution in the territory.

In March, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In Nunavut, Nunavik and across the country, public health officials have encouraged physical distancing, hand-washing and wearing masks in public places as measures people should take to prevent the spread of the disease.

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(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northener on

    Not going to discuss numbers and yet that’s all we hear on a daily basis is numbers. Number of infected, number of resolved cases. But now that theirs medivac involved, numbers are no longer relivant, kind of makes you wonder

    • Posted by John K on

      No, not really.

  2. Posted by Heather on

    How old? Doesnt say…

  3. Posted by Kangiq&inirmiutaq on

    I find it odd that they would open schools in Rankin and Whale Cove with active cases, than the very next day say Rankin is “recovered” when our last case was confirmed on November 24!! Now people are roaming like nothing happened!! Kids out and about. We still need to be very careful!!!

  4. Posted by Iqaluit man on

    God be with them.

  5. Posted by Derek Elias on

    Its not over until the virus is dead n gone frm this planet.

  6. Posted by inooya on

    Yea right. My brother in-law is in a hospital right now in a induced coma on a ventilator in Winnipeg. So all a bunch of lies about all in stable condition

    • Posted by John K on

      You literally just described a patient in stable condition. Sorry for your brother but he’s stabalized.

      • Posted by Not stable on

        Induced coma and a ventilator is not what medicine would call stable conditions. I hope that they recover soon

        • Posted by Paul Murphy on

          “an ill person, in a currently unchanging state, neither improving nor deteriorating”.

          The medical definition of a person in stable condition, so yes, it would appear that a person in an induced coma and on a ventilator could be defined as being stable. Not the preferred condition for sure, and I sincerely, hope they get better soon.

  7. Posted by okay on

    Nunavut strong! Also appreciation to the health care workers of Winnipeg. There should be no southern and northern, just Canadian. It is one of the things that got lost in this pandemic that we are all Canadian and the principles of confederation.

    • Posted by Exactly on

      Yup, you said it.

  8. Posted by Inuk on

    So when they recovered in South hospital, they will bring another viruses?

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      No, that’s not how it works.
      To start with they will not be released from hospital until they are Covid-19 free. Second their bodies will have created antibodies against the coronavirus which protects the person against reinfection. While there is some doubt as to how long this protection lasts the consensus thinking is that the more serious the infection the greater the number of antibodies produced, therefore the greater the protection.
      You shouldn’t have anything to fear from someone who has recovered from Covid-19.
      Now they may bring back the flu, but given how everyone is masked these days (or should be) the incidence of the flu is way down. Kind of makes you think that maybe we should put on flu masks every winter.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        The body does not create antibodies against corona and flu viruses through exposure and illness. This is the enduring myth of the herd immunity crowd and why the vaccine is now running rampant in places like the US. If one were able to develop antibodies to these viruses then one would only contract illnesses like the flu once instead of requiring annual vaccination.

        • Posted by The Old Trapper on

          The following information is from the WHO website, Newsroom page, dated 15 October2020;
          “Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick. Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease in question and passing it on, breaking any chains of transmission. Visit our webpage on COVID-19 and vaccines for more detail.
          With herd immunity, the vast majority of a population are vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population. As a result, not every single person needs to be vaccinated to be protected, which helps ensure vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated are kept safe.”
          The article goes on to say;
          “We are still learning about immunity to COVID-19. Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we don’t know how strong or lasting that immune response is, or how it differs for different people. There have also been reports of people infected with COVID-19 for a second time.
          Until we better understand COVID-19 immunity, it will not be possible to know how much of a population is immune and how long that immunity last for, let alone make future predictions. These challenges should preclude any plans that try to increase immunity within a population by allowing people to get infected.”
          So to reiterate; Your body produces antibodies to corona and flu viruses. Your body also produces antibodies to corona and flu virus vaccines (the vaccines are usually dead viruses, or in the case of the new mRNA vaccines the spike proteins the virus uses to attach to your cells).
          Now the reason that we need influenza vaccines every year is two fold; one a person’s immune protection declines over time, and two there are many different strains of influenza and each year’s vaccine seeks to protect against the most common variations each year.
          At least we agree that trying to get to herd immunity without a vaccine is next to impossible.
          Please do some simple research, this will help ensure that you are not posting erroneous information.

  9. Posted by Northener on

    Lifes hard folks so wear your helmet

  10. Posted by By stander on

    Would it not make sense to have a regional hospital built in Rankin Inlet or Arviat rather traveling to Winnipeg to get infected?

  11. Posted by Uvanga on

    What part of ‘Stay Home’ is not understood?

    If you have to go out, wash hands after any touch, wear a mask, stay 2 metres from others. what part of that is not understood?

    Do you want ZERO cases in your community? Up to you. Stay home means Stay SAFE for you but for your grandchildren and many others. Designate only one person to go grocery shop.

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