The number of active COVID-19 cases in Nunavut now stands at 61, after 10 new cases in Iqaluit and two in Kinngait were announced by Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq on Thursday morning. (File photo)

Nunavut COVID-19 cases continue steady climb, now at 61

12 new cases being reported on Thursday tie highest single-day increase of territory’s current outbreak

By Dustin Patar

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nunavut increased by 12 on Thursday, bringing the territory’s total to 61.

Of the dozen new cases, two are in Kinngait, where a new case hadn’t been reported since April 23, and the remaining 10 are in Iqaluit.

The announcement, made by Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq through social media, comes just over two weeks since Iqaluit confirmed its first case of the virus.

There are currently two active cases of COVID in Rankin Inlet, four in Kinngait and 55 in Iqaluit.

In addition to new cases, Savikataaq reported that another recovery had also been confirmed in Iqaluit, bringing the territory’s total to 34.

Although the origin of Iqaluit’s COVID-19 outbreak is still unknown, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, has said that the virus was likely circulating in Iqaluit roughly a week before being detected.

As of a news conference on Wednesday, Patterson said that contact tracing teams are still about four days behind the virus.

Health teams in Iqaluit continue to conduct surveillance testing of certain groups and facilities, including taxi drivers, men’s shelters, the elders centre, staff at the boarding home and hospital and some correctional facilities.

To date, 1,100 tests have been completed in Iqaluit since the first case was reported. Of those, 87, or 7.9 per cent, have been positive.

Also during Wednesday’s COVID-19 news conference, Patterson said that there were over 200 people in Iqaluit currently isolating and, despite test results being ready within 24 hours, people don’t immediately come out of isolation because of negative results.

In Kinngait as of Thursday, there have been 123 tests conducted with all but six coming back negative.

No additional testing is being reported in Rankin Inlet. The Nunavut government now says the community’s COVID-19 status is “isolated,” meaning the virus is no longer believed to be spreading to new people.

On Wednesday, Patterson also said that there are contacts that have been identified that are not in communities with active cases.

“There are increased measures in communities where there is a higher chance of COVID arriving,” he said.

“If COVID arrives, it is less likely to spread as fast as it would in other times.”

Any resident of Nunavut who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 is asked to call a hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern time.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include sore throat, runny nose, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, muscle ache, loss of taste and smell, tiredness, fever or upset stomach.

Vaccinations in the territory are ongoing and to date, 15,734 residents have received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Yesterday, Patterson said that 49 per cent of the territory’s adults are now fully vaccinated.

As of today, 12,328 have received both doses.

In terms of increasing those numbers, Patterson says the work is ongoing and could involve reaching out to individuals directly and continuing to run community-based clinics.

Patterson also says that the current situation has helped.

“There’s been a significant increase in interest because of this most recent outbreak,” he said during Wednesday’s news conference.

“It’s unfortunate that it took that but you know, we’ll continue to administer it and make it available for all Nunavummiut who are eligible for the vaccine.”

Those who would like to book a vaccination appointment can call their local health centre.

For updated information and resources on COVID-19, visit the Government of Nunavut’s website.

The government’s next COVID-19 update will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. eastern time.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Vaccinated? on

    Couple questions: 1) What is number of people vaccinated in Iqaluit, why are there people catching COVID? Is the reported number of vaccinations lower? 2) If you catch COVID, recover, get vaccinated, can you catch COVID again or would you be asymtomatic and be a super carrier?

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    • Posted by Karen on

      Dr. Patterson stated in the last press conference that there have been no cases in people who are 2 weeks (or more) past their second dose which is considered fully vaccinated. The vaccine is not a guarantee against catching COVID, it is meant to help your body avoid a severe reaction and hospitalization.

    • Posted by Conner Dear on

      You do know, that you can still get covid with being Vaccinated right?
      You just don’t get the severe symptom’s as bad…..its in the paper work you should have read.

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  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Why is Nunavut still only hovering around 50% in terms of vaccinated adults? Are people so stupid that they do not realize the correlation between low vaccination rates and continuing Covid outbreaks? Go get vaccinated!

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    • Posted by Iolla Campinolla on

      if you ever wonder at the real world cost to a society for its poor levels of education and its tolerance of ignorance, here is a good example. I know many people who could have been vaccinated but turned it down because they thought the consequences of the consequences of the vaccine itself would be worse than whatever covid might bring.

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      • Posted by Let’s be judgmental on

        Well, I think that is a little judgmental. Although I took the vaccine (both doses) and I support vaccines since they save lives (people forgot there were deadly epidemics pre-vaccine days because they have not experienced it), I was uncomfortable about it because the long term possible effects of it are unknown since it is so new ( and I know it is NOT going to change my DNA etc, no need for a lesson on these basics); of course the short term effects of not taking it can be death, so that was my reason for taking it as well as to hopefully reduce my virus load should I get it and thus hopefully reduce the risk of transmitting it to others. I do think that more education should have taken place earlier and questions and concerns that people have should continually be answered and not be dismissed. And yes, of course, there is also a proportion of people who have been brainwashed into thinking that all vaccines are bad, but again education and respect and honesty are the solution, and role models and leaders showing they are taking the vaccine, as has happened. It appears that the outbreak in Iqaluit is making people take the thing and the vaccine more seriously now and that is good.

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    • Posted by nunavutian on

      The communication put out to the public is mostly via Facebook, CBC, Igalaaq on TV. Many who can’t afford internet, cable tv and those who listen to the radio at only certain times, if they do are the ones in the communication gap. Some may be hard of hearing, others struggling to make it month to month on their income support payments, and there are those who drink, sleep in and don’t pay attention to public announcement. Think about it, even some who have internet, radio, tv access don’t pay much attention to the details. Some have religious beliefs who don’t want a vaccine. Then, there is the messenger, on tv or radio or lack of it. Those who get interviewed are not that fluent in Inuktitut. Minister Kusugak is very articulate. Wish we could hear more from him on the details some times and not have to hear the translated snippets. Nunavik radio often has interviews with articulate people. Simon Awa would speak from the GN and he made the details so understandable too in Inuktitut. Any online information such as this section is read by many of the priviliged GN and Inuit organization workers.

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  3. Posted by Renatta Turpey on

    I think subtracting the cases that have been medically deemed to be recovered is misleading. Just how many cases of COVID have been seen in IQ since its arrival. Much clearer picture of the state of affairs here.

  4. Posted by larry on

    Not a fan of Iqaluit,but only 61 cases in a town of 8 thousand so far,iqaluit is taking good care of themselves,and shows the vacine is working,and will be over soon.KEEP THE BARS CLOSED,and do karoke nite on the ice on the bay.

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    • Posted by Umiliviniq on

      “Not a fan of Iqaluit, but only 61 cases in a town of 8 thousand so far,iqaluit is taking good care of themselves …” ? Terrible statistic!
      61 cases in 8000
      610 cases in 80,00
      6100 cases in 800,000
      Sorry but Iqalungmiut are not looking after themselves very well!

      Umiliviniq

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      • Posted by Stats on

        Well, really, you can use your calculation to compare our numbers to a city that is larger but otherwise multiplying our numbers as if we were a bigger city is not really helpful; our statistics are about 0.8 % of the population with the number you used for that day. The real issue is how fast it is growing, whether people are severely affected, and whether our medical infrastructure can handle our more severe cases and conduct tracing fast enough to limit the spread. And right now, numbers are growing steadily and one person has been medivaced, so I would say we are far from being out of the woods.

  5. Posted by big J on

    They brought up the positive case at the correctional facility and boarding home at the News Briefing today. They didn’t bring up the positive case with NorthMart staff. (In case you were wondering why Tim Hortons was closed down.) Why was this not reported?

  6. Posted by coffee to go please on

    as for Tim Hortons its not that hard to put it as a take out only and not have people entering. But the bigger problem is the persons standingout side it with no masks or a mask on only partially . PLease remove the drug dealers its not safe

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