Iqaluit’s first case of COVID-19 was announced by the Government of Nunavut late Wednesday night. (File photo)

Nunavut capital sees first COVID-19 case

Iqaluit’s non-essential businesses to close, students to stay home for the rest of the week as strict health measures take effect

By Mélanie Ritchot

Iqaluit has its first case of COVID-19 confirmed, Nunavut’s chief public health officer announced late Wednesday night.

“I ask all Iqalummiut to remain calm and maintain strict adherence to the public health measures in place,” Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a news release.

Strict public health measures come into effect at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

All schools will be closed for the rest of the week, non-essential businesses and government offices must close, and residents are being asked to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with people outside of their households.

Starting Thursday, masks are mandatory in Iqaluit and indoor gatherings are restricted to a household plus five for emergencies only. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people.

“We have initiated immediate contact tracing within the community and are working to identify all potential high-risk contacts quickly,” Patterson said.

The individual is currently isolating and is doing well, according to the release.

Travellers who have departed Iqaluit on or after April 13 are being asked to isolate for 14 days once they arrive in their home community.

This is the first case of COVID-19 reported in the territory in 20 days and the first case reported in the capital city.

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell tweeted shortly after the announcement, saying “since the very beginning we knew COVID would make it here, let’s stay calm and follow Dr. Patterson’s orders.”

“We are all in this together and we will all get through this together,” he said.

Non-essential travel is highly discouraged.

Schools in all other Baffin communities and in Rankin Inlet will move to Stage 2. That means middle and high school instruction will be a blend of in-school and remote learning. Students will attend school two to three days per week with staggered schedules to reduce physical interaction.

Businesses in these communities can stay open but must implement strict social distancing rules.

In those communities, indoor gatherings are restricted to those from the same household plus 15 people, and outdoor gatherings are restricted to 100 people.

Indoor public gatherings are restricted to 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

Nunavut’s first COVID-19 case was reported last November in Sanikiluaq but outbreaks followed in Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove. Arviat had been the territory’s hotspot, with about 85 per cent of the territory’s 396 cases. Four deaths have been reported in Nunavut.

Across Canada, there have been 1,087,152 cases reported as of Wednesday, according to the federal government’s online tracker. There have been 23,445 deaths across the country.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Name withheld on

    Why did they mention Rankin among Baffin region? Did this individual travel thru Rankin?

    • Posted by boris pasternak on

      RI is connected to Iqualuit thrice weekly. Most likely ur town was mentioned because of this connection.

    • Posted by Consistency on

      Most likely just because of the direct flight connection with Iqaluit.

  2. Posted by Baffin on

    So is the Covid the UK Variant or the African Variant in Iqaluit?
    Will the Hospital stay open and was the person from Ottawa?
    So was flight on Tuesday April13
    Stay Safe

    • Posted by Stay calm & carry on on

      It’s too early to know the strain, that requires further testing on the sample. I’m sure we’ll be told when the results are back.

  3. Posted by boris pasternak on

    All precautions needed ur essentials. We found out in kivalliq that its the retailers will prolong this thing. If u can handle retailers and absolutely curb their customer intakes. U will have a short live of this monster. Fear mongering of food shortage and not limiting customers is enemy no. 1 because none of the stock is ever disinfect.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        The articles states that ;
        “the transmission of the virus is mainly due to air transmission through what we call aerosols or small, tiny droplets that don’t fall as a ball, but that go into the air as a smoke”
        The virus can also be transmitted from contact with surfaces then contact with a person’s eyes, nose, mouth. It has been shown that the virus can survive on different surfaces for up to a week although its survival is usually limited to hours on most surfaces.
        The surfaces to watch would be door handles, light switches, utensils, cups, etc. I suspect that physical contact also plays a large roll in the transmission, handshakes, hugs, kissing, etc.
        Stay safe; mask, distance, wash/disinfect hands.

      • Posted by boris pasternak on

        My beef is that retailers. Nothing scares managers than $$$ going to others stores. So what happen in arv was small efforts to follow rules. As stores become congested as the guys says; airborne. And all walks of life heads to town’s retailers. Airborne transmissions. Thats lot of 9000 shoppers in any given wk.

  4. Posted by so amazed on

    To all the people on Facebook who have suggested “It must have come.frum down south!”… I want you to know you are very bright and deserving of recognitionfor these very lucid insights.

    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      if facts bother you then stay away from facebook.

      • Posted by so amazed on

        Jay I want to include you in this group of visionaries whose thoughts and insights are deserving of our attention and contemplation. Bravo! Keep up the good work.

      • Posted by What Da Fook? on

        Interesting take, Jay. I’ve never thought of Facebook as the place avoid because of all the “facts” floating around, lol…

    • Posted by M Lawlor on

      This guy needs a medal or gold star.

  5. Posted by Pathetic Response on

    12 hours later and no info of who what when where why.
    Now I can work from home but GN wouldn’t let me work from the hub two weeks ago. Why is my work good for pay now?

  6. Posted by Any excuse on

    GN people in Rankin told not to go work today for covid is in Iqaluit like… what?

    • Posted by Pot stirring? on

      Most government offices are essential services, so most of us are still working?
      Re-read the forth paragraph slowly..


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