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
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.
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.