Health restrictions easing next Monday across Nunavut — except in Arviat

Territory is 22 per cent of the way to its vaccination goal for the end of March

On Monday, many students will return to schools like the Leo Ussak elementary school in Rankin Inlet, seen here, when public-health restrictions are eased across Nunavut. The exception is Arviat, where there are 25 active COVID-19 cases. (Photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Every community in Nunavut except for Arviat will soon see schools return to full-time, in-classroom learning, while restaurants, museums and gyms will be allowed to let more people in once public-health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are eased next Monday, March 1.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Nunavummiut for following the public-health measures, because their hard work is one of the key reasons we can make these changes,” Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said in a news release Thursday.

All Qikiqtani, Kitikmeot and Kivalliq communities — except Arviat, where a COVID-19 outbreak is ongoing — will see restrictions relaxed.

Schools in Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Rankin Inlet, Naujaat and Whale Cove will move up from Stage 2 to Stage 1 of the school reopening plan.

This means bus schedules will return to normal instead of being staggered and students will be allowed to eat in common areas again, according to the Government of Nunavut’s school opening plan.

It also means a return to full-time learning in classrooms instead of a mix of online and in-person classes for middle and high school students.

All schools in the Qikiqtani and Kitikmeot regions are already in Stage 1 and will stay there on March 1.

Most Kivalliq schools will also open to Stage 1. But in Arviat, where there were 25 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday, schools will remain in Stage 4 — meaning they are closed.

On March 1, all halls, conference spaces, restaurants, bars, theatres, and churches in the Qikiqtani and Kitikmeot regions can increase their capacity to 75 per cent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.

Gyms, pools, libraries and museums in the two regions will be allowed to have 25 people inside, or 50 per cent of their capacity, whichever is less.

In the Kivalliq region, all public health measures will stay the same except for the school-related changes.

The territory’s vaccine rollout continues, with clinics for first doses scheduled in four more communities and others receiving their second doses in the coming weeks.

As of Monday, 6,977 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 4,110 had received both doses, Danarae Sommerville, a spokesperson with the Health Department, said in an email.

In total, 11,087 doses have been administered across the territory, she said.

This means Nunavut is about 22 per cent of the way to its goal of inoculating 75 per cent of the territory’s adult population of approximately 19,000. The Department of Health’s goal is to have that done by the end of March.

Iqaluit residents who are 45 years and older can schedule vaccine appointments as of March 1, as part of the city’s ongoing vaccination clinic, which is being done by priority group.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said over 1,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine have already been given to Iqaluit residents.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Consistency on

    Can we get community by community totals for vaccinations? One dose and two.

  2. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    So for the communities in Kivalliq who got their second dose and Rankin Inlet almost 2 weeks ago which marks antibody immunity ( 2 weeks after second dose according to health Canada) where the likely hood that we will be severely ill and require hospitalization is very low now including taking consideration of the variants out there ( according to present data), when can we skip the isolation hotels.?
    Adults who chose to take both vaccines should be able to skip isolation hotels starting next week in Rankin Inlet. We had a lot of adults who took both vaccines in Rankin Inlet. The anti-vaccers adults should not keep the rest of us hostage. If they get sick with the virus, it was their choice not to protect themselves. Although people under the age of 18 who cannot get the vaccine at the moment have low probability of getting really sick with the virus requiring hospitalization.
    Give us our freedom to travel again, we have been in “jail” for a very long time now. You cannot keep us like this forever, this virus is our new reality for years to come, it is not constitutional now to keep us from getting out of our isolated communities anymore. It has been extremely depressing. You also have to take into our consideration our mental health!
    Perhaps antivaccers will get vaccinated once they realize the rest of us who got 2 v vaccines could travel with out vaccination card. this would be a win win for the community

    • Posted by Say what? on

      Qavvigarjuk – You’re right!

      You do seem to be succumbing to mental stress disorder. You are not in “jail”.

      Perhaps if you look at the situation as you’re being a hero to yourself and your community by follow the Health authorities guidelines and recommendations , rather than seeing it as being shut in, you might have less anxiety.

      Most of the entire worlds population are dealing with this in ways to limit the spread as much as possible, simply by staying put. It’s nothing personal.

      Stay safe. Wash hands often, and comply with social distancing recommendations. You’ll be fine.

  3. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    correction, travel with our immunization cards ( 2 vaccines)

  4. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    no one is stopping you from traveling.

    but the vaccination is not going to stop you from getting sick. it will give your body the proper antibodies to recognize and fight COVID19 should you come into contact with it. you might not even feel anything should you come into contact with it and if you skip the 14 day isolation and go home right away you could pass along the infection to others.

    that is why the isolation period is still important. and why even if you travel, maintain a mask, social distancing and proper hand washing.

    as much as I want to go down south for a holiday, you won’t see a picture of us with no mask at the Calgary Space Needle or CN Tower anytime soon. hell, even the Snow King Castle in YK, aha.

    • Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

      That is not the point I was trying to make. This virus is here to stay and is our new normal. The government cannot keep us isolated in our communities for ever and require us to isolate before going back home for ever. The whole point of the regional isolation centres was to prevent people from introducing covid to the Nunavut communities and making some vulnerable populations of people like the elderly and the immune compromised very ill that they would have to be sent out to a hospital down south that is overly taxed by the pandemic and maybe die. Yes we can contract the virus but will will likely not get sick and require hospitalization. That is what the data is showing.the purpose was not to over tax hospitals. Most of Rankin inlet vulnerable population has been immunized twice now. Yes we still have to wear masks, keep 6 feet apart wash our hands. We still would have to follow provinces and territorial legislation until their vulnerable populations are fully immunized. But why should we be required now to isolate before we go back home ?We are in a better position than the rest of canada. Most of our adults are immunized now. The vast majority of youth will not require hospitalization nor die if they get covid, it is like a bad cold or flu for them. That is life and what we have always lived with. Yes people who are eligible for a vaccine and refuse it are taking a risk of getting very sick from covid but that is THEIR not take our rights and freedoms away from the vast majority if us who got the vaccines .


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