GN releases plan to ‘live with’ COVID-19

New cases of the virus won’t automatically trigger a lockdown

The government of Nunavut released a new plan, Nunavut’s Path: Living with COVID-19, on Tuesday. (File photo by Dustin Patar)

By Mélanie Ritchot

With the ultimate goal to lift Nunavut’s public health emergency and all isolation requirements, the territory’s Health Department has released a plan to “live with COVID-19.”

The report says new cases of the virus won’t trigger immediate community lockdowns, “drastic” public health measures, or a “complete change of life.”

Instead, it considers COVID-19 to be similar to other vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles or whooping cough. If new cases come up in a particular community, the response will depend on how many people there have had a vaccine.

Vaccine category groups

The plan breaks communities into three categories of vaccination levels.

If a case is detected in a community where 75 per cent or more of the eligible population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, there will be restrictions on gathering sizes, masks will be mandatory and fewer people will be allowed in restaurants and bars.

If 50 to 74 per cent are vaccinated, a case of the virus would trigger higher restrictions on gathering sizes, lower limits on people allowed in restaurants and bars and again, mandatory masks.

These restrictions will be even tighter for communities with 49 per cent or less of the eligible population is vaccinated and a case of COVID-19 is detected. Plus, there will be added restrictions for in-person health services and work places.

Vaccination rates will also guide the Department of Education’s school reopening plan in communities with cases of COVID-19.

Schools don’t automatically need to close down if a case is reported, the plan says, but they could if there is uncontrolled spread within the community.

“The benefits of vaccines and lessons learned since the start of the pandemic shows that our goal should be to keep schools open,” the plan states.

Isolation

Fully vaccinated travellers and their dependents who cannot get vaccinated are no longer required to isolate in southern isolation hubs.

The next step in the plan is to offer in-territory isolation to all non-vaccinated Nunavummiut, with an end goal to lift isolation requirements for all travellers, regardless of vaccination status.

Outbreaks

Another change in the new strategy is the threshold for declaring an outbreak.

If more cases of COVID-19 are reported, an outbreak being declared will depend on factors like at least five per cent of tests coming back positive — showing hidden transmission — or a variant of the virus showing up.

If an outbreak is declared, that’s when public health restrictions like long-term care facilities closing to visitors, taxis only taking one person at a time, and and non-essential businesses closing, would come into effect.

In the event of an outbreak, all schools may close and travel would be restricted.

The plan says once people of all ages can get the vaccine, eventually, the goal is to lift the public health emergency that has been in place in March 2020.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have announced they are undergoing clinical trials to test their COVID-19 vaccines on children as young as six months.

Share This Story

(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Finally on

    Finally some common sense. Nunavut has the lowest vaccination rate in Canada, and that number likely wont be changing. This virus may come, may go, all I know is these lockdowns didnt work and all GN workers cashed in on free “paid vacation” going out camping and such. We need to quit living in fear, just look at Alberta, they are doing a great job living with the virus

    22
    50
    • Posted by enough on

      What do you mean the lockdowns didn’t work? It got control of the outbreak in town and squashed it down to zero cases and prevented people from getting seriously ill, from death and from months or years of long-haul Covid. It eventually did the same thing in Arviat. If the lockdowns had been adhered to more closely, the lockdowns would have been shorter. Curious to know why you say the lockdowns didn’t work. Is it just because you didn’t enjoy it?

      31
      5
    • Posted by anon on

      The reason the territory’s total vaccination percentage remains low compared to the rest of Canada is because close to 40% of the population is 18 or under. Once the under 12s can be vaccinated the numbers will improve.

      17
      3
      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        That is true only when you consider the total population. Many of the websites break it down to adults which includes 12+, also many websites report first dose/second dose statistics
        .
        Guess what? Nunavut is third from the bottom when you lookup adults 12+ with one dose (78.5%), and 8th (out of 13) when it comes to fully vaccinated adults 12+ (67.8%). No bad but consider that Nunavut has had zero constraint on the number of doses available, in fact it is last at 70.8% at using the doses it has been given.
        .
        Compare that with Yukon; one dose 94.9%, fully vaccinated 88.8%, and doses used at 96.8% Even the NWT is way ahead of Nunavut; 87.2%, 80.4%, and 77.3%.
        .
        You can put any number you want in for herd immunity because no one really knows, my guess is that with the Delta variant you would need 90% or better. Nunavut will not get there unless the government twists some arms.
        .
        Governments need to start worrying about the people who have gotten the vaccines, and who do follow the rules, and not the loud minority that doesn’t – and complains about everything.
        .
        Governments and businesses need to get on the same page. A vaccination card (aka vaccine passport which apparently is not to be discussed) should be necessary for work at the GN, any hospital worker/visitor, travel on an aircraft, using a taxi unmasked, shopping. It’s not like other countries aren’t doing this. Heck in many countries you have to show a “green” QR code that means you are vaccinated and have tested negative in the last month – just to enter a shopping mall!

        9
        3
    • Posted by Spare parts bud on

      “Finally” that’s a very bold statement to make assuming ALL GN employee’s got a paid leave. There were many of us in multiple departments that are considered essential workers that had to continue working to keep operations running. Health, finance, CGS, Etc… If anyone needs common sense its you.

      16
      2
    • Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

      Hey there Finally,

      1. It’s not living in fear… it’s staying cautious. If a mask makes you scared, I wonder how you deal with Halloween.
      2. The AB government made a stupid decision based on economic issues. Not health issues. Kids go to school soon and those under 12 cannot be vaccinated. Asymptomatic spread is real.
      3. I choose to mask and I stay away from crowds. I can still camp, go running, go shopping. But I wont go to parties, or hang out with people who are unvaccinated because I dont want me or my kids getting sick, even with a small chance of being hospitalized. The masks and restrictions did not impede my freedom, but it sure as heck made the troglodytes come out from under their rocks…

      7
      5
  2. Posted by Consistency on

    With Resolute Bay’s 105% vaccination rate they should be good no matter what happens in other communities. Way to go Resolute.

    And then there is Igloolik and Kugaaruk at 40%. I guess the towns will have to shut down if anyone sneezes the wrong way.

    https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-vaccination

    24
    1
  3. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    I’m glad to see the plan includes potential variants and breakthrough cases. Get ready for Delta.

    9
    3
  4. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Virtually no one dies of measles or pertussis (whooping cough) in Canada due to the very high level of vaccination.
    .
    Nunavut does not have this high level of vaccination against Covid-19, plus the Delta variant is more contagious and affects children under 12 years old. People die from Covid-19 every single day – over 26,600 since this started.
    .
    While the more relaxed procedures will be welcomed by most the GN is playing a dangerous game.
    .
    My thoughts, keep masks and social distancing until after vaccines are approved for 6 month to 11 year old children and these kids have a chance to get vaccinated. It’s likely to be this fall. In the meantime make a real effort to get the vaccination rate up over 90%, even to 95%.
    .
    You and I know that it’s only a matter of time until Delta shows up in Nunavut and it’s likely to rip through at least one community, if not every community in a region.
    .
    Surely people can put up with masks for another few months!

    21
    30
    • Posted by Oh Ima on

      Speak for yourself! I am done with the mask, I know Delta variant is over but I feel like there’s an overreaction, most of the cases are a mild forms of covid. Not discounting the severe cases but people will die of diseases and natural causes.

      Time for us to live with Covid one way or the other. Stop living in fear! I chose hope over fear.
      People that don’t want to get vaccinated are given misleading information.

      26
      26
      • Posted by Auslander on

        Choosing hope over fear sounds really nice, but it’s not a sound strategy in scientific terms.

        I agree with you on the masks though.

        16
        7
      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        For those people who only think of themselves and their inconvenience, I assume that you didn’t have any family, relatives, or friends who died this past year of Covid-19. Take a moment to think of those that did die.
        .
        Deaths of Covid-19 in Canada;
        2020 – 15,588
        2021 – 11,089 and counting.
        .
        Sorry that asking you to keep wearing a mask for two or three more months because you may be asymptomatic and right now spreading the Delta variant to vulnerable people is such an imposition.
        .
        I thought that we all lived in the same society and each and every one of us has responsibilities to the whole of society.
        .
        My mistake.

        27
        22
        • Posted by Soap Box Hero on

          Why should we wear masks for a few more month again, Old Trapper? Because some anonymous commentator in the Nunatsiaq News comments section who has assumed the role of ‘house doctor’ has pontificated that this is the thing to do? I mean, that’s all this seems to comes down to isn’t it. Am I missing your credentials or some other pertinent info?

          10
          13
          • Posted by The Old Trapper on

            Yes.
            .
            I’m sure that with many people it really wouldn’t matter if I was an infectious disease specialist (I’m not) because people believe what they want to believe and rarely consider outside opinions, or even do their own thinking.
            .
            Yes the GN may be doing the right thing, listening to people like you complain and decide that every other province and territory is opening up, so they had better open up and remove restrictions too.
            .
            That’s sort of how we got into this mess in the first place. We left the border open, even sent out charters to repatriate Canadians at the start – with of course no adequate health measures to determine if anyone had Covid-19, and certainly no mandatory quarantine. That helped the virus get established and led to our first lockdowns. Hospitals – and funeral homes were full, retirement homes were empty because Covid-19 killed the majority of the residents.
            .
            Things improved, warm weather came, and cases went to all time lows. Governments and businesses said we have to open up. We did over the summer, and then the weather turned colder, people went inside, and caused wave number two right through Christmas and New Years. Thousand more died, but lockdowns worked again.
            .
            Cue the spring dip, and the warm weather hits. It will be fine, everyone will be outside. Also we have vaccines! Let’s open up the economy (again). Wave number three illustrates that Covid-19 is a bit*h and really doesn’t care. Also vaccines have to go into people’s arms to be effective, and that takes time and persuasion.
            .
            Now we are opening up again, and expect that history will not repeat itself in a fourth wave. Except not everyone is vaccinated. Delta has 1,000 time the viral load of the original coronavirus. It multiples faster. We have no idea how many people need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to work – but we know that we are not there yet. Governments (especially Kenney & Ford) DON’T CARE! Business interests have told them to open and they OBEY!
            .
            New coronavirus cases (7 day average, compared to 3 weeks prior) decreased from 03MAY – 24JUL, they are now increasing again for 11 days straight. Yesterday the cases were 88.5% higher than 3 weeks ago.
            .
            Don’t trust me, a nameless stranger on the internet, even those I have followed this from the first news out of China, before Wuhan was locked down, before the virus arrived in South Korea. Charting provincial numbers (new cases, deaths, vaccinations) every day is just a hobby for me. Oh and I also chart a few other countries where I have friends and look at their news to see how they are doing, and what they are doing.
            .
            You’re right, I’m not an infectious disease specialist. Just remember that our politicians aren’t either. Some listen to their doctors and specialists, some don’t. But the inner circle of who they listen to are all employed by them. Very few of the Chief Medical Officers will disagree (at least in public) with their political masters. Some may in private but in 99/100 cases the politician is making the final decision.
            .
            There’s roughly 26,600 people that would probably disagree with a lot of the political decisions, unfortunately they died of Covid-19 and no longer have a chance to be heard.
            .
            I really don’t expect you to believe me, or necessarily agree with my opinion. I am however hoping that some people will do their own research. Forecasting trends and assessing potential liabilities is not that difficult.
            .
            When Delta arrives in a community it will spread like wildfire. People who have decided not to get vaccinated will get sick, and some will likely die.
            .
            Hey I hope I’m wrong. I’m just as sick of this Covid-19 BS as everyone else. Maybe Jason Kenney and Doug Ford are right. There’s always a first time.

            14
            7
            • Posted by Soap Box Hero on

              Thumbs up for all the hard work, Old Trapper

              8
              2
  5. Posted by Yusafay ehyo on

    Gn. Doing a fair job finally , but have many people put to risk their lives that haven’t believe the coronavirus vaccine is safe.

    6
    2
  6. Posted by Kugmiut on

    Geez eh ? Once the other stronger variants arrive in an isolated community, be ready for a many hardship, imany of the people that are not vaccinated will contract the deadly disease and be infected. Healthcare system here in Kugluktuk is overwhelmed already and anyone who wants to see a nurse will have to wait at least a month like everyone else. A wrong choice made by one person who doesn’t give a chance to anyone.

    10
    2
  7. Posted by wondering on

    what i don’t understand is Government will impose all kinds of restrictions which many go against our own Charter of rights, yet they don’t have the guts to make the vaccine mandatory because people have the “right” what a joke..im done with everything, no more masks and no more hit and miss policy’s by government’s everywhere not adhering to any of them. Just useless!

    3
    11
  8. Posted by Kennedy on

    Stop violating my rights!!

    6
    15

Comments are closed.