New COVID-19 case in Iqaluit may be community transmission
Stricter restrictions to take effect at noon Thursday
Someone in Iqaluit who hasn’t travelled recently has tested positive for COVID-19, leading officials to think the disease was contracted within the city.
The case — Iqaluit’s first in about two weeks — was detected late on Wednesday, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, announced on Thursday.
Patterson said the person had not left Iqaluit for over a month.
“This leads us to believe there may be community transmission in Iqaluit,” he said.
Anyone who has travelled from Iqaluit to another community since Dec. 15 is being asked to call the COVID hotline immediately if they develop symptoms.
Restrictions are tightening at noon on Thursday, with non-essential travel in and out of Iqaluit limited to essential purposes only.
Residents of Iqaluit can come home if they are away, but people who aren’t triple vaccinated are urged to self-isolate for 14 days once they return.
Other restrictions include limiting indoor gatherings in homes to five people plus household guests and indoor public gathering — like in community halls — to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity.
Libraries and galleries are limited to 25 people or 25 capacity.
Gyms are also limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity with group classes not allowed.
Arenas have the same restrictions with an additional 25 spectators and no team sports are allowed.
Fifty people can gather in churches and places of worship, or 25 per cent capacity but singing is not allowed.
The movie theatre in Iqaluit and personal services, including hairdressers are closed.
Thursday’s announcement brings the territory’s active case count to three, with two in Pangnirtung.
It is not yet known whether any of the cases are the Omicron variant of the virus and Patterson said this won’t be known for the Iqaluit case for seven to 10 days.
Patterson, Premier P.J. Akeeagok, and Minister of Health John Main are scheduled to give an update on the current situation at 1:30 p.m. ET.