Nunavik health officials advise against non-essential travel

Two Ivujivik residents who tested positive for COVID-19 remain in isolation

A Dash-8 sits on the tarmac at Kuujjuaq’s airport. “Considering the increase in the number of cases in the south and the risk of reintroduction of COVID-19 in Nunavik by travellers, it is recommended to avoid all non-essential travel to and from the south,” the region’s health board said on Oct. 15. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik health officials are advising against all non-essential travel outside the region.

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services made the recommendation on Thursday, Oct. 15, a few days after two Nunavimmiut tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to their home community from travel to Toronto and Montreal.

Another three Nunavik residents have recently tested positive for the virus in the south.

Current regulations allow travel to and from the region but require all travellers to be screened before boarding a flight to Nunavik, or to present a negative COVID-19 test result from within 96 hours of their departure.

And starting this week, the health board said that anyone travelling to Nunavik will require two COVID-19 tests: one before north-bound travellers board their flights and another test seven days after arriving in the region.

But two individuals were screened first before flying home to Ivujivik on Oct. 12, only to receive positive test results for COVID-19 upon their return home.  The health board said the pair would have had to present negative test results before they were allowed to travel home.

Ivujivik mayor Salimuni Qavavauk said the residents have been isolated and an additional nurse was brought into the community to care for them, though he wasn’t aware of their condition.

“We are doing our best, as much as we can,” Qavavauk said. “This is a small town that could easily spread the virus if they are not following guidelines.”

Qavavauk said the municipal council has issued reminders to the community to maintain physical distance, to wash hands often for 20 seconds at a time, and to wear a mask in public places and on public transit.

According to a Nunavik Public Health investigation, no one in the community of 420 had any significant contact with the two people who tested positive for COVID-19, so officials say there’s no need to close public places in the community.

A few people outside Ivujivik did have contact with the two individuals, however, and the health board said they have been contacted and put into isolation.

“Considering the increase in the number of cases in the south and the risk of reintroduction of COVID-19 in Nunavik by travellers, it is recommended to avoid all non-essential travel to and from the south,” the health board said.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Wherever you go, you’ll still be here on

    Interesting. Now they it’s worse than was with the first wave, less is being implemented as precautionary measures. Travel was cut off before, but only recommended now not to travel unnecessarily. Charlie Watt was on region Nunavik radio yesterday, with news that he is cutting off beneficiaries discounts and dismantling the reservation system as so there is less travel. Yes punishment(no discounts) with a power trip to have Inuit not travel. like if beneficiaries do travel, as it’s only recommended that we don’t , then Charlie issues hardship with a full fare price. Treated like kids or what? Plus Charlie needs something to do, to pretend he has some control over many Inuit.

    • Posted by beneficiary member on

      Cutting off the un-necessary travels by nunavimmiut also i believe is necessary. That is to LaGrande where many bootleggers and or mules are going to recent times. Yes, stop letting them use the ilaujuq program. And maybe not stop it for ppl going from community to community. Their has to be a better solution instead of cutting off all ilaujuq members who want to travel , let’s say from GWR – Kuujjuaq or elsewhere.

  2. Posted by Still have to travel.. on

    Punishment for lowly beneficiaries.
    It’s because they don’t have the problem of paying overpriced tickets, like us.

    • Posted by Don’t travel here on

      Beneficiaries get discounts because of ownership and belong to the place we call Nunavik. If someone is paying too much for a ticket, and comparing it to beneficiaries, then that person shouldn’t be travelling in Nunavik or to and fro. Travels are better for you and less expensive, less concerns for us to have the mysterious, who are you anyway, in Nunavik.

  3. Posted by Needs clarification on

    Understandable the Nunavik board of Health and social services is making this recommendation. But Nunavik beneficiaries and everyone else needs clarification on what Air Inuit is imposing , and what Makivik president is imposing or proposing. There is a letter circulated with Air Inuit stationery stating that ilaujuq is suspended for indefinite period, but no name as to who wrote that letter. Many have pointed to Charlie watt as the one suspended the program, but Charle issued a explanation letter on Makivik site, which he try’s to explain, but the letter is very confusing , and explains nothing straight out. Personally I think Air Inuit, Charlie Watt, Makivik should stay out of this and leave it all up to the health authorities. The last thing needed is for them to issued more confusion. They’re not in anyway qualified to do so, it’s health authorities only for that. Or, could this letter be a hoax? We need to hear from president of Air Inuit on this.

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