Igloolik’s COVID-19 case count now highest in Nunavut

Health Department monitoring new mutation of Omicron found in Canada

Igloolik’s COVID-19 case count has gone from two to 55 since Saturday. (File Photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Igloolik’s case count rose to 55 on Thursday, making it the hamlet with the most active cases in Nunavut, despite its small population.

After 10 days at 0 cases, the community’s tally spiked in less than a week.

The uptick lines up with the predictions of Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, who said on Tuesday that he fully expected cases to go up this week as tests get processed.

At a news conference on Thursday he said there’s still a significant workload to get through in terms of testing at the local health centre.

“They’re catching up but not there yet,” Patterson said.

He also said about half the calls coming into the Nunavut COVID-19 hotline were from Igloolik, as of Wednesday.

The community of about 2,000 re-entered lockdown on Monday following a quick spike in cases, testing and calls to the hotline on the weekend.

Patterson explained the factors that go into deciding restrictions will tighten in a community on Thursday.

“It’s important to understand the number of cases of COVID-19 in a community does not necessarily represent the degree of spread or the level of risk,” he said.

Things like the number of households involved in an outbreak, whether health staff can keep up with testing and contact tracing, and the community’s vaccination rate are all taken into account.

Patterson said the situation in Igloolik is at the point where there is no longer capacity to do proper contact tracing.

Health Minister John Main urged Nunavummiut not to take their frustrations about public health orders out on health staff at Thursday’s update.

“Some of our health professionals are facing abusive and threatening language,” Main said.

“They’re there to help and they do not control the public health measures.”

There were a total of 279 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Thursday.

Seventy-three new recoveries brought the total recoveries to 591 since the start of this wave of the pandemic. There has also been one death and nine hospitalizations.

Patterson made a correction to the formerly stated hospitalization rate of 10 on Tuesday.

There were a total of 279 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Thursday. (Graphic by Mélanie Ritchot)

Nunavut’s 279 cases by community:

  • Arviat — 18
  • Baker Lake — 28
  • Cambridge Bay — 31
  • Chesterfield Inlet — 1
  • Coral Harbour — 15
  • Igloolik — 55
  • Iqaluit — 33
  • Kinngait — 16
  • Kugluktuk — 2
  • Naujaat — 5
  • Pond Inlet — 7
  • Rankin Inlet — 18
  • Sanikiluaq — 28
  • Sanirajak — 5
  • Taloyoak — 11
  • Whale Cove — 6

Qikiqtarjuaq and Kimmirut’s case counts went down to 0 on Thursday, while cases in Taloyoak nearly doubled, going from six to 11.

Schools reopened across the territory on Monday, but Education Minister Pamela Gross said she didn’t have attendance information at Thursday’s update and couldn’t say how many kids actually went back to school this week.

Main previously said parents who are worried about sending their kids back to school need to make their own judgement call and decide what level of risk they’re comfortable with.

On Thursday, Patterson said it’s not appropriate for parents to keep a child home from school just because they live in the same house as another kid who is too young to get the vaccine, or another individual who hasn’t had the vaccine.

“If there’s somebody in the house who is infectious, then it would make sense to have the students isolate at home,” Patterson said.

On Wednesday, a mutation of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in Canada.

Patterson said the sub-variant, called BA.2, has been labelled a “variant of interest” and the Health Department is monitoring the situation.

For now, its discovery doesn’t change the local approach to managing the pandemic, he said.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Vaccine on

    Highest case count and lowest vaccination rate. Coincidence?

    • Posted by Northerner on

      You know the drill , lockdown.

    • Posted by Larry on

      Science,baahhh, god wills it

      • Posted by Let’s settle this old fashion way on

        I’m curious how many infectious diseases religion has eliminated or brought under control in human history? It would be informative to compare that with the number science has brought under control or even eliminated (which is, granted, not an easy thing to do).

    • Posted by Praise the Lord on

      They were relying on god to protect them. But now that he hasn’t, they will probably just say that god is testing them.
      Religious people are absolutely amazing at spinning any situation in god’s favour, even when they end up contradicting themselves.

  2. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    what you believe in should be just that, your beliefs. if you trust your instinct, your belief, your gut, your religion. keep it that way, teach your children to do the same, do not force your beliefs on your family.

    and especially your friends and community! don’t force your views, whatever they are on others, especially when it comes to religion and politics. don’t spread lies about vaccination.

    let people choose for themselves.

    • Posted by The Atheist on

      I agree with you, but we have to face up to the reality that people are simply not going to take advice like this. If you believe deeply in something, especially the most consequential of things, in your mind, you are going work hard to spread the message.

      Secularists and atheists need to push back. Silence and passive acceptance of the circulation of bad ideas is not an option we can accept. We need to use all the tools we have, primarily the education system, to teach our children and our communities to simply think better.

      • Posted by Northern Inuit on

        can’t we just give them a copy of Life of Brian and Dogma and tell them to come back when they are done watching it?

        • Posted by The Athiest on

          Sounds like a great start ??

  3. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    would be cool to see the stats on tests taken for each community.

  4. Posted by “Has Been Hunter” on

    It was wanting of substances that spiked the numbers in Igloolik. They did not heed safety protocols as long as so they got or sold. Silaitun, then they will be asking the community for help. Iksinnarlavuun pijaarisuun?

  5. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Yea what’s up with the yoyo lockdown? Earlier cases in a few communities whole territory is on lockdown, now its all over and no lockdown, need someone smarter than me explain.


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