Essential workers entering Nunavut now required to wear masks outside dwellings

Government tightens COVID-19 rules in reaction to second wave in southern Canada

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said that workers exempt from self-isolating for 14 days have to wear a mask when outside their dwelling, starting on Oct. 5. (File photo)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Essential workers entering Nunavut who have skipped stays at isolation hubs now have to wear a mask outside their dwelling for the first two weeks they’re in the territory, starting on Oct. 5.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced this on Friday, Oct. 2.

“The risk is rising as the numbers again increase in the south,” he said, explaining why this measure is being implemented now.

Patterson also said some people are confused about when they should wear masks, and some “don’t want to follow orders and look for loopholes, so we’re making [the rules] as clear as we can.”

People who are in Nunavut who were exempt from isolation have been expected to stay in their dwelling when they’re not at work and to practise physical distancing. They must now also wear a mask outside their dwelling for the first 14 days.

To be exempt from a 14-day stay at an isolation hub, they sign an agreement saying they’ll follow these orders.

Enforcement against those who break the orders is “complaint driven,” Patterson said.

“On at least two occasions we’ve had RCMP visit people to deliver warnings, and we’re working on enhancing the enforcement process.”

Premier Joe Savikataaq said on Friday that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon.

“It is clear that we are into the second wave,” he said. “We all need to make sacrifices to keep each other safe.”

That means continuing with the public health measures of washing hands frequently, maintaining a physical distance, following limits on gathering sizes, and self-isolating and wearing a mask when it’s required.

Meanwhile, a pilot project to increase the turnaround time of test results in Nunavut has been “very successful,” Patterson said.

That involved using a chartered plane to fly test swabs from around the Qikiqtani region to the hospital in Iqaluit to test them. Test results were known in less than 72 hours, Patterson said.

Since the project was successful, the Government of Nunavut will continue to use that system in the Qikiqtani, and will also have a plane on standby in Rankin Inlet so tests can be flown in from the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions and tested in Rankin Inlet for rapid results.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Dr. Patterson, might I suggest that any essential worker found in breach of the agreement they signed for isolation, mask wearing, etc., be fined a minimum of $1000 (maximum $5000 for an really stupid infraction) and be put on the next plane south to never, ever, return.
    Nunatsiaq News could print a front page picture of the person being escorted onto a southbound flight, along with their name, and company/government affiliation. This would act as a deterrent for any other idiots out there and it would draw attention to the fact that this is serious, deadly serious.
    Unfortunately Covid-19 is not over by a long ways. Just wish that I was at my sister’s place in Nova Scotia instead of in plague infested Ontario.
    Premier Ford you almost had it right but you didn’t have tough enough restrictions, and you opened up too soon. You really have to get the infection rate to zero and then make sure that your borders and quarantine measures are effective. Right now Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Colombia are failing their citizens, and Manitoba is not far behind.

    • Posted by Reality on

      Hmmm, maybe we should treat Nunavut residents in the south the same way. I wonder how many “idiots” would be flying in each direction for breaking rules?

    • Posted by Get Real on

      I would think the idea of forced relocation of anyone would resonate in Nunavut more than anywhere but you proved that wrong. Like it or not no govt has that authority.

    • Posted by Look Elsewhere First on

      I’d start with the idiot Nunavummiut in the quarantine hotels. A minority of them seem to think that they are in an American frat house somewhere. Such behaviour, wow.

  2. Posted by unbelievable on

    Please tell me that this also includes RCMP members as well.
    We are under the understanding that RCMP members are coming in from the South , not isolating at the hub & are not required to wear a mask ???
    How can this be safe for Nunavut???

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      I would expect officers transferrin in do in fact isolate somewhere prior to arriving in Nunavut. But, when we need a “SWAT” team or officers coming in to investigate a crime scene, I expect they have to come in to do their job immediately. They cannot reasonably be expected to enter 14-day isolation beforehand.

  3. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    About time !!!

  4. Posted by tuktuborel on

    Testing has to be improved. Everyone who enters Nunavut without isolation has to be tested and tested at least two times. Once before arriving and 5 or so days after. If they are virus free after the 5 days then they should be good to go. Continue to practice the accepted masking and social distancing standards.

    The 14 day isolation could also be reduced with a updated testing protocol. If tested at the start of isolation and again after 5 or so days (pick a term) in isolation and if they are proven to be virus free then they should be able to return to Nunavut. There are not thousands of people returning to Nunavut. The GN should be able to handle this. Test results even in Nunavut can be less than 72 hours. Currently test results in the rest of the world can be received in much less time. One week max in isolation with testing should be good enough.

  5. Posted by Old trapper on

    It is so unfair RCMP and Nurses can go on vacation and not isolate?

  6. Posted by Pandemic in Europe on

    In france, upon arrival to the country you are given a coloured bracelet that can’t be taken off without special tools, which they take off after 14 days.
    Why not use a similar identification system with those signing this agreement, so at the very least the ‘complaint driven’ system will be more likely to work? Theirs tracks location, but at the very least a bright neon coloured wristband would be useful for people seeing who is supposed to be wearing a mask constantly for 2 weeks.
    A complaints process/honour system only works when everyone is able to watch out for any transgression, which won’t really be possible without people knowing who should be wearing a mask or not.

    • Posted by True dat! on

      Exactly! Govt has already forced us to isolate in the hotel for 2 weeks prior to coming to Nunavut. GPS bracelets is an awesome idea! Give the option to isolate at home, cant do that? isolate in in a GN approved hotel. NWT gives its residents a choice, why can’t NU?

  7. Posted by Numbers Game on

    Numbers …there is a real numbers game going on in the GN’s reports that they send out.

    The last update October2 cnd shows 6615 critical workers that have travelled WITH OUT isolation to the Territory sine they started the process. That is 17 % of the population of Nunavut. ????

    The number they show for construction is 1591 but they have gone through 14 days isolation at a huge cost.

    They report a weekly total of travelers in isolation but they do not report total medical and non medical public who have travelled through all isolation centers from start to date.

    There is also seemingly differences between costs. In one report at Nunatsiaq we are told the cost is 6,076 for the 14 days for a public and then they report the costs is for $14,400 a construction worker. Why the difference is it that construction workers are eating steak and eggs while the public gets a moldy egg sandwich.
    Back in May, Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq, said the cost of the individual isolation stays would be $2,100 for one person, and $1,050 for each additional person in a party. The GN said on Sept. 30 that the cost of a stay I isolation comes in at $434 a day or $6,076 for the 14 days.
    It costs about $14,400 for the government to isolate a single southern-based worker, multiplied by the roughly 1,200 construction workers who have flown into the territory to work on building projects this summer. That means, to date, the government has spent $17.3 million on isolating southern-based workers.
    Nunatsiaq News Please get the real report the numbers /costs/ break down and print it.
    How much is the Airline getting /Security/ hotel room /food costs. Are the food costs being paid the GN perdiem 110.80 per day if this is the case they need to show just how they figure out a moldy egg sandwich costs.
    As this is public tax payers moneys the report should be public and available.

    • Posted by I hear ya on

      Preach brutha… what costs are the GN going to have to pay for repairs to room from drunkenness? There’s fire alarms going off and police called to the hotels daily … more money and misuse of resources. I doubt this could ever happen again… on this scales. Do cities want this burden… sure they’re compensated for the rental but what about the bad rep?

  8. Posted by Iqaluitmiut on

    i recently learnt that a 2 southern business people isolated at the down town location with 5 star meals while the medical and non-medical travel people are isolated at the place where they have the gross food. wonder who’s bright idea that was is?

    • Posted by Kenny on

      OMG! What’s a 5 star meal? Maybe they paid for it themselves, like out of pocket. Imagine!

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