Nunavik declares its first confirmed COVID-19 infection in Salluit

A nightly curfew and strict travel restrictions are now in effect across Nunavik

As of March 28, Nunavik has one confirmed case of COVID-19, in the Hudson Strait community of Salluit. To keep the new coronavirus from spreading, measures including a curfew and new travel restrictions are now in place. (File photo)

By Jane George

Updated, March 29, 4 p.m.

Nunavimmiut learned on Saturday evening that the region’s first case of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the Hudson Strait community of Salluit.

That was followed by the news on Sunday afternoon that the entire region would be under a nightly curfew, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The Kativik Regional Police and the Kativik Regional Government said these curfews are preventive measures “aimed at protecting all Nunavimmiut from the potential spread of the virus.”

At about 8 p.m. on March 28, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services first said in a release that it had received confirmation “that there is a positive case in the region.”

The infected person in Salluit has been in isolation since completing a COVID-19 test and will remain in isolation until further notice and as “instructed by a doctor,” the health board said.

That individual, who is currently sharing a house with others, is isolated in a “specific room,” and “hygiene measures are being strictly applied,” the release said.

A public health team has been contacting people in the community of about 1,600 who could have been in close contact with the infected person.

“A strict protocol is unfolding,” said the health board, which has had a pandemic plan in place since 2006, when the H5N1 bird flu virus was a concern.

Close contacts would have been in contact with the infected person for at least 15 minutes at a distance of two metres or less, the health board said.

Some in Salluit are already in quarantine.

“For those in isolation, they are aware of all the precautions they need to follow. We remind people to help them follow the recommendations and be supportive,” the health board said in its release.

“Rest assured that actions are in place and more will come.”

At the same time, the KRPF and the KRG said in a joint release on Saturday that a curfew would be in effect in Salluit from 9 p.m. until 6 p.m. every day, “until further notice.”

As well, the police and regional government said that all flights in and out of the community had been cancelled and that its airport would remain closed to all traffic except for “extreme exceptions.”

Local leaders asked everyone to avoid “stigmatizing those who fall victim to the coronavirus,” the joint release said.

Prior to the Nunavik-wide curfew being ordered

The communities of Ivujivik, Aupaluk and Kuujjuaraapik had all been placed under curfews before the Nunavik-wide curfew was put into effect.

The police said they would enforce the curfew “with the support of the mayors of the Northern Villages.”

The news of the first confirmed case in Nunavik followed Quebec’s announcement earlier on Saturday that the province planned to restrict travel in eight regions, including Nunavik, as of 4 p.m.

All non-essential travel between those regions is now prohibited, although exceptions will be made for humanitarian reasons, Quebec said.

Speaking about these measures, Quebec Premier François Legault said on Sunday during his daily news conference that “we don’t want it to spread in Nunavik.”

Two weeks ago Nunavik’s regional airline stepped up measures to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading, and then last week, only days ahead of the announcement of the first confirmed COVID-19 case, the region introduced new mandatory screening for air travellers.

A joint release from the health board and the KRG also said on March 24 that only individuals working in essential services such as police officers, health care workers, maintenance crews and others, as identified by the KRG and the KRPF, would be allowed to travel on flights in Nunavik.

Regular scheduled cargo planes and shipment of supplies to all the communities, including medical equipment, would continue, as would travel for medical appointments.

A week ago, the Northwest Territories announced its first case of the new coronavirus and closed its borders to most travellers.

As of March 28, Nunavut still had no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

But Quebec had nearly 2,500 confirmed cases.

To avoid infection with COVID-19, Nunavik’s health board said all Nunavummiut should:

• Wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
• Keep a distance of two metres from each other.
• Stay at home as much as possible.
• Avoid visiting friends and family members in close spaces “at all cost.”

The health board is now asking Nunavimmiut not to go to their local health clinics if they think they’re infected with COVID-19 and show symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.

Instead, they should call the Info-Health line at 1-888-662-7482 from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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(21) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inniakattanginnaaqut on

    Article reads “ on March 24, that only individuals working in essential services such as police officers, health care workers, maintenance crews and others as identified by KRG and KRPF would be allowed to travel on flights in Nunavik” .

    Five days later, there are still some individuals hopping from town to town visiting friends and family

  2. Posted by paul on

    plz all hope not to spread it

  3. Posted by Curfew on

    The curfew from 9 pm to 6am is the greatest thing that has happen to Nunavik in recent times. No more of those childish drunk drinkers out and about . No more 10 year old kids stealing around people’s houses. No more drunks out shouting at neighbors. No more groups of young and old alike crawling around at night, and early morning in stores with smell of alcohol, weed and cigarettes. Wow Nunavik. Who would know we just needed a little curfew to bring back our senses.

    • Posted by Carol Chassé on

      I was in Salluit during 12 years, the municipality tried several time to have a curfew, never worked.

      • Posted by Curfew on

        We all know about curfews in Nunavik in days gone by, they never worked, but just remember why they tried to inmpose a curfew in the first place, back in the day. Lots of idiots. Who would now be called covidiot. I lived in the towns that had such idiots and watched as curfews came and went without success.

  4. Posted by Paul on

    Please stop the beer line up. That is not social distancing

    • Posted by Time to get the drug dealer on

      An opportunity for people to turn in the drug dealers and the bootleggers to the police. Just remember that those houses where drugs and illegal booze is sold, is a threat to the health of the population. Turn them in, and if you depending on them stop now .

      • Posted by INUK on

        I will not turn in my cousin in

        • Posted by Cousin inuk on

          Yes, you won’t turn your cousin in, but you will be known as a brave person, defies all the courage to stop the spread of covid -19. Do you even understand what’s taking place in the world today?

        • Posted by Observer on

          Because heaven forbid that your cousin’s bootlegging and drug trafficking be impacted by the potential it could result in people dying. That would be terrible.
          Just how many bodies will it take before you start wondering if you’re doing the right thing, by the way?

  5. Posted by Concerned on

    Meanwhile in Iqaluit, large groups of adults and children are spending their weekends hanging out and racing snowmobiles all day long on the Road to Nowhere lake. They are all in close proximity to each, up to 4 on one sled, and they hop on and off like musical chairs of virus transmission. The Emergency Health Order banned all social gatherings, but when will it become socially acceptable to call out these people for putting our community in danger with their non-compliance?
    .
    I know being stuck inside when the weather is nice sucks, but this virus doesn’t take the weekend off – and social distancing isn’t just something you do during the work week. I wish people took this more seriously sooner rather than later.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      “but when will it become socially acceptable to call out these people for putting our community in danger with their non-compliance?”
      .
      Yesterday would have been a good time, but it’s never too late. Well to be honest if they contract Covid-19 it will probably be too late.
      .
      #Covidiots!

  6. Posted by Health care provider on

    We hear it’s highly contagious. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds as soon as you touch anything. Clean your houses. Stop visiting!
    Wash your clothing as soon as you come in to the house from outside. Dont let your kids out of the house. Feed your elders, since they are not allowed in stores.
    Stop hating each other. Stop calling names at each other as well.
    That ‘virus scare’ came for a reason, for us to be family again and help each other. Learn to love one another.
    Peace!! When you guys stop calling each other, ” drug dealers and bootleggars” like you all do. Not only one. Maybe it will go away. I’m sure the one who is calling someone a bootlegger is one of the biggest bootlegger. Anyways, I love everyone of you….

    • Posted by It’s not the fall, but the landing. on

      Calling each other bootlegger? What are you talking about? I didn’t see anyone calling anyone else a bootlegger in these comments. The comments are talking about that there are people who are bootleggers and putting the population at risk, and so are those who go to a bootleggers house. It’s nothing about a name of someone, but a real behaviour that’s happened! And anyone who knows a bootlegger show report them to the police! That’s a good way to use their name. Report them. It’s not calling someone a bootlegger, it’s about reporting them

  7. Posted by Miki Share on

    The local smoke shacks are the gathering places.
    Cigarette sharing is still common.
    Make sure water services supply enough water to all houses.

  8. Posted by Angiyou on

    Again i ask, who else travelled to Salluit on Flt704 from Montreal to Puvirnituq?on march 17?

    • Posted by Party is over finally on

      Not sure who travelled that route and time, but I’m so happy to see that traveling in Nunavik is changed forever. Over the years all that meeting and committees traveling has taken the life out of Nunavik. The financial strain, the neglect children and families left home while their parents party off in other villages and hotels in Montreal. It’s over people. The government can now use that same tax payers money , instead of wasting on the traveling party, it can be put to good use. Stay safe, the party is over, and stay away from co-op line ups for beer.

  9. Posted by Covidiots on

    Covidiot. Finally a great definition. Seems like I’ve been looking for that word to describe so many idiots I see everyday of my life. Now we’ll see the covidiot in full boom. They’ll lined up trying to buy food, toilet paper and beer in greater amount that everyone else, all the while hugging and shaking hands. You’ll see them in Nunavik in its ignorance. Outside and inside Co-op store in line for beer, passing around a shared cigarette, all the while with a little boyest, girlest giggles, but they are adults, not that aware. You’ll see them trying to party. Gambling in a shed , card games, passing a joint around, and dealing away the cards. They defie the curfews, try to be out all night long , them adults covidiots. Welcome to the show about the covidiots.

  10. Posted by Airheads on

    And those coming from south are not in isolation. Visiting around, going to stores.

    Who is in control here? Who will enforce this?

  11. Posted by Michel Gravel on

    The son of a friend died from the covid 19 in point inlet nunavut .
    RIP Jackson .

  12. Pingback: Nunavik declares its first confirmed COVID-19 infection - COVID NEWS NOW

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