Every Nunavut community must brace for COVID-19 surges, Patterson warns

Chesterfield Inlet becomes 11th Nunavut community where disease has been detected

Chesterfield Inlet became the 11th Nunavut community where COVID-19 has been detected, the Government of Nunavut announced Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Calm Air)

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavut residents should brace for COVID-19 infections to hit every community in the territory, chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said Saturday as Chesterfield Inlet became the eleventh where the disease has been detected.

“Nunavummiut need to prepare for surges in case numbers and infections in every community,” Patterson said in a news release the Government of Nunavut issued Saturday.

It reported 177 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 50 compared to Friday.

It published a list of the number of confirmed cases in the following communities:

  • Arviat — 47
  • Chesterfield Inlet —2
  • Baker Lake — 1
  • Pond Inlet — 1
  • Igloolik — 16
  • Iqaluit — 48
  • Pangnirtung —18
  • Qikiqtarjuaq — 3
  • Rankin Inlet — 32
  • Sanirajak — 9

The GN believes there are cases in Cambridge Bay but they are pending testing. On Friday, the government began identifying communities where COVID-19 is suspected, but where test results have not confirmed it.

The number of cases it reports is based on results that have been confirmed by test results.

Patterson urged people to stay home if they feel sick, to wear masks, and to keep “strict physical distance.”

He repeated that vaccines are “the best defence against getting severely ill from COVID-19.”


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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by Larry on


    • Posted by Brrrrr….. on

      …Nunavut strong.

    • Posted by Pigeon on

      You left out the “with COVID cases” part.

  2. Posted by articrick on

    This new GN is failing as fast as the cases grow, am I the only one that lost trust with the GN?

    • Posted by ?? on

      How exactly is this a GN issue? Pretty sure its a global health issue and that in comparison NU is still holding on compared to most other jurisdictions in Canada. The Government cant fix stupid and the only solution here is the one taken by every Nunavumiut to get vaccinated, stay home if your sick and comply with public health orders. Time for people to be responsible for themselves and their behavior and stop blaming the GN for everything.

      • Posted by Can’t fix stupid on

        There’s only so much that the government can do. If they do anymore ppl yell out racism or colonialism… so in the end. You just can’t fix stupid.

  3. Posted by tuktuborel on

    The fact that the testing results for Cambridge Bay are still pending really shows how poor Nunavut Health Care system is when dealing with this Covid. It appears that the eastern and central Arctic regions have better systems in place.

    • Posted by Derek on

      The Kitikmeot region test results have to be flown to Rankin which can take awhile pending flight delays or mechanical issues. It is sad that the Kitikmeot region (Cam Bay) has no testing facility. This is only going to get worse for Nunavut as people r still coming in frm the holiday season. Be prepared for a tsunami of cases Nunavut wide.

    • Posted by Eastern bias on

      The Kitikmeot Region had not been provided with testing capacity like the Baffin and Kivalliq regions. Our tests are flown to Rankin Inlet and results can take 4 to 5 days if flights are running on schedule. There have been some tests that have taken almost two weeks to be tested if there are flight cancellations.

      • Posted by Beleaver on

        If you get tested in Baffin, the tests are flown to Ottawa or Winnipeg lab through Ontario. Health care in Baffin is just as bad, if not worse than Kitikmeot.

        • Posted by where is our lab on

          The Kitikmeot needs a testing facility just like Iqaluit and Rankin. Nunavut is a vast Territory to look after and the three “centers” need to be setup to deal with Covid and other issues that may arise. I believe near10 years ago with the completion of the new Cambridge Bay Health Center many promises were made as to having resident doctors and Birthing Center and testing facilities. 10 years have gone by and little has changed. No resident doctor, not even one, no mid-wives and very limited testing abilities. It truly is sad.

        • Posted by Luck ran out on

          No, they are not. Samples are sent south from Iqaluit to confirm the strain of the virus (and possibly overflow of samples), but both Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit have the equipment to confirm the presence of the virus.

          The GN was warned in 2020 about the problem the Kitikmeot would face if there was no testing capability set up in the west but those concerns were ignored, and the GN then got lucky for almost two years because there were no cases in the Kitikmeot communities which would have revealed the problem. Luck has run out.

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      Yes the GN is falling apart at the seams.
      Good God people the confirmed tests are done down south.
      Instead of blaming the GN how about putting the blame on the lack of wearing masks, the lack of social distancing, the lack of staying home.
      The lack of Northern and the co-op not being pro-active enough and monitoring the crowds in their stores.

      None of these are mandatory, I agree, but for crying out loud use common sense. people.

  4. Posted by Bummer Cron on

    Where the blame should be pointed to is “the people”, seriously people shouldn’t travel, planes should only operate for essential means as for food and supplies and medical reasons only. And the GN should implement this ASAP, or there will be a devastating pandemic in Nunavut.

    • Posted by Baffin on

      For sure…
      Arviat had a Christmas Party
      In a single home with over 50 people
      Who does this in a pandemic?
      Then Inuit were on FB looking for free cleaning supplies!
      Hint stop ? smoking weed
      Stop bingeing with booze
      Follow Public Health Guidelines
      Wear a mask, household bubble
      Social distancing
      As well as vaccines with 3 rd booster
      Nunavut has its own rules

  5. Posted by What? on

    How do we prepare? Go south and work remote?

    • Posted by Ajurnaq on

      For the last 2 years people have been advised to practice safe distancing..getting vaxxed..and staying home. While most followed protocol some idiots refused to get vaxxed..probably the ones spreading the covid. .. I know you could still get covid even while vaxxed but the odds are safer if you are vaxxed. The towns should be complete locked down…

  6. Posted by Arviatmiut on

    Lol, the fault is of those not masking up, cleanig up, and growing, up… is this fault though? Its like being mandatory to wear a helmet, yet worst. Easy fix? Stay home. If you going out to go buy pop you accept that you have tons of chance to get it and spread it. You watching your causin, your friend, your sister walking around you know its no emergancy than come on here amd rant about the other people? How about conplainers and scaredy cats, and elderly, and already sick people…STAY HOME. and let the rest of us just get it over with. And wr can all be happy

  7. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Only going to get worse in next couple weeks. How many from Kitikmeot Region went to Edmonton for the Omicron Juniors, I mean World Juniors. That tourney should have been cancelled in November. Scary how many people will come home infected.

    Cambridge need their own testing capability.

  8. Posted by Aputi on

    Ever since pj be ame premier, bring back JOE

    • Posted by Ian on

      Back stabbing already by joes group, will it ever end.

  9. Posted by Hunters on

    My facebook page has large groups of 20+ mask-less individuals all together going hunting during this time.


  10. Posted by Vaxed on

    This is just going to get worse.
    We stayed home for 2 years. We didn’t travel, we masked and followed social distancing and got vaxed. We were told we could travel. Then a new strain came out that has brought us back to lockdown. It’s spreading fast, and will continue to spread. This is the beginning, we will be in lockdown for months.

    • Posted by Much like a classroom… on

      society can only move as fast as it’s slowest, derpiest individuals.

    • Posted by NeU on

      Wait until all the teachers/transients return back from the south in the next week or so. More cases and spread. Either open up the territory or lock us down with no flights, with exception of cargo for essentials and medevacs. This cycle is non ending, COVID is never going to be eradicated.

  11. Posted by Mark M. Koroi on

    I do not believe there have been any COVID-19 cases reported in any community in north of the Northwest Passage – such as Resolute or Grise Fiord.
    The “Atlantic Bubble” provinces – including Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland – have been relatively COVID-free since the pandemic began and those provinces are now getting hit with the worst waves of that virus since the pandemic struck, although the vaccination rates are VERY high in those provinces and the cases-to-deaths ratios are low to the point of being enviable. Prince Edward Island has yet to see its first COVID-related fatality – and just had its first hospitalization a few days ago.

    • Posted by Cambaymiut on

      The Northwest Passage (at least, the most common route) is *south* of Cambridge Bay. So there goes your theory.

  12. Posted by Get well people on

    Hope everyone gets well soon. Thankfully Covid is really just a variety of cold/flu which the vast majority of people recover from.

  13. Posted by Northern Guy on

    The vaccination rates in many Nunavut communities are some of the lowest in Canada, Omicron will rip through these communities like a hot knife through butter. Your best bet to ride this out safely is to GET VACCINATED. Even you contract Covid the likelihood of a severe episode will be significantly reduced otherwise all bets are off.

  14. Posted by rapid testing required on

    Its been said over and over its not if but when we will have covid. and variants. This is a global pandemic.. The facts are clear. Get vacinated. it will help you from being really ill and dying., self isolate where the mask and rapid test every person coning to Nunavut at the airports. and or when they arrive. Blaming people is not going to help, solutions help. Overall Nunavut has done amazing at keeping the numbers down compared to other places. Its all of us doing whats best that we are going to get through this

  15. Posted by Mushroom Cloud of Covid on

    I’m a little alarmed that there has been so little said on the blow up of our cases over the past few days. I live in Rankin and we went from 32 to 42 in one day. Is this community transmission, do we expect to have a handle on this soon or is it running wild?

    Back in the early days of covid this kind of info would be front and center. What’s going on?

  16. Posted by Umingmak on

    Dr Patterson himself said that “omicron is indistinguishable from the common cold”.

    Why is he going to such extreme measures for a bug that he himself says is the same as the common cold?

    Also, as for the 14-day isolation: The entire world has moved to a 5 day isolation, only extended if one has symptoms of the virus. Why is Nunavut still mandating the ridiculous & unscientific 14 day period that everyone else ditched a long time ago (originally cut to 10 days months ago, and more recently to 5)?

    • Posted by Southerner in the North on

      When Dr. Patterson says Omicron is indistinguishable from a cold, he means that the symptoms are very similar, not that they are the same virus with the same effects. The symptoms for indigestion and bowel cancer can be very similar too. That doesn’t make them the same illness.

  17. Posted by Silvio Dante on

    The Omicron variant is taking over and will result in further lock-downs and restrictions. We will, ALL OF US, probably eventually get it, no matter how careful we might be. But these restrictions can’t go on indefinitely. If they do, this country (an others) will face economic collapse. The public’s patience is reaching the end. Riots and disobedience is happening around the world. In Canada – not so much. We are far too compliant. We do as we’re told.
    It’s time to recognize that we can’t “beat” this virus any more than we can beat the flu or the common cold. Get vaccinated, including the endless boosters, then end the restrictions and let’s get on with our lives.


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