Inukjuak locks down with 105 COVID-19 cases, as other Nunavik communities reopen

Community accounted for over half of region’s reported cases on Monday

Inukjuak, seen here, has imposed its own COVID-19 restrictions due to reported community transmission, says mayor Pauloosie Kasudluak. (File photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

While the rest of Nunavik has begun easing COVID-19 restrictions, Inukjuak has entered a local lockdown as it accounted for more than half of all the active cases in Nunavik.

Inukjuak reported 105 COVID-19 cases on Monday, according to the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services update. In that same update, the board reported 206 active cases across the region.

“The community is in a lockdown for two weeks,” said Pauloosie Kasudluak, Inukjuak’s mayor. “There is a community transmission of COVID right now.”

Under the local restrictions in the Hudson Bay village of approximately 1,800 people, municipal and medical services remain open, while recreational activities and private visits are prohibited, Kasudluak said.

Kangiqsujuaq had the second-highest COVID-19 case count on Monday with 21. All other communities reported fewer than 20 active cases, with Aupaluk and Salluit being the only communities to report zero. The numbers from Monday were posted by the health board to social media early Tuesday afternoon.

Active COVID-19 cases in Nunavik, as of Feb. 14:

  • Akulivik: 11
  • Aupaluk: zero
  • Inukjuak: 105
  • Ivujivik: 2
  • Kangiqsualujjuaq: 1
  • Kangiqsujuaq: 21
  • Kangirsuk: 2
  • Kuujjuaq: 15
  • Kuujjuarapik: 7
  • Puvirnituq: 5
  • Quaqtaq: 16
  • Salluit: zero
  • Tasiujaq: 7
  • Umiujaq: 14

Inukjuak locked down over the weekend as other communities began the process of reopening. On Monday, restrictions on gatherings and indoor dining were lifted region-wide.

The restaurant at the Kuujjuaq Inn opened its doors to customers for the first time in months on Tuesday morning.

Anita Pembroke, who works as a cashier at the restaurant, said business was a little slow when it reopened for breakfast. But she said she was happy to see some regular customers come back, and she’s hoping to see more come in for a breakfast poutine later in the week.

“It was great to see their faces again, dining in, getting their usuals,” Pembroke said. “I’m sure that they’re happier to see other people and socialize, because after so long, you kind of miss seeing other people and going out.”

Nunavik’s health board is set to ease more restrictions on Feb. 21 as part of its reopening plan.

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