Nunavut celebrates as COVID-19 cases drop to zero
Premier cautions news “does not mean the outbreak is over”
Nunavummiut celebrated a COVID-19-free territory over the weekend.
Premier Joe Savikataaq announced Sunday on Twitter the territory was back to having zero active cases of the potentially fatal coronavirus.
“As of today, there are no active cases in the territory!” he wrote.
But the premier said the news does not mean the outbreak is over. And he urged caution.
“There are still people in isolation, and everyone still needs to do their part and practice the public health measures,” he said.
Since Nunavut reported its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 6, 265 people have recovered from the virus.
Arviat saw the majority of those cases, with 222 COVID-19 infections in the Kivalliq community, where the last person recovered last week.
Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr., the premier’s son, announced on the community’s FM radio station Saturday evening that his community was virus-free. That prompted parades in a handful of Nunavut communities, where residents took to the streets honking their horns.
Since the first case was confirmed, Nunavut recorded one COVID-19-related death — an Arviat man who died in Winnipeg on Dec. 19.
The GN had initially reported the death of another man from Rankin Inlet. But last week, the government revised its statistics to show just one COVID-19 death. A Health Department spokesperson said it must still confirm which jurisdiction one of the deaths should be recorded in.
News that there are no active cases came just as the territory is about to launch its vaccination program.
Nunavut health officials are expected to start vaccinating elders and health care workers across the territory later this week. The government is expecting enough doses to vaccinate 75 per cent of the adult population in the first three months of 2021.