Nunavut government planning changes to isolation hubs

‘We plan to have an announcement next week on where things will be heading, moving forward,’ says Dr. Patterson

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, says the government plans to announce changes to its isolation hubs next week. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

The Nunavut government plans to announce changes to the operation of its isolation hubs next week.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said during a Friday news conference that “as far as the hubs go … we plan to have an announcement next week on where things will be heading, moving forward.”

Earlier this week, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association wrote a letter to Health Minister Lorne Kusugak and Patterson calling for changes to the territory’s two-week long isolation protocols for entering the territory.

With one new case of COVID-19 reported in Iqaluit on Friday, there are now 10 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory, all in the capital city.

The new case has already been in isolation as a household contact from a previous case.

Despite the case being the first announced since last Friday, Patterson said that it’s reassuring that the person was already identified as high-risk.

“We’re on the right track,” he said, “and today’s case is not a reason to consider changing the public health measures.”

Nunavut has reported 649 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago. Four deaths have been reported since the pandemic began.

Across Canada, more than 1.3 million cases have been reported and there have been 25,644 deaths as of Thursday, according to the federal government’s COVID-19 website.

Patterson’s biggest concern now is whether or not there is undetected transmission occurring in the city.

One way to catch this is through surveillance testing.

In addition to ongoing testing at essential workplaces and some residential buildings, Iqaluit public health is launching a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic.

The walk-up clinic will offer on-site, safe and secure testing in different locations to those who would like to be tested.

The mobile COVID-19 testing clinic will be found at:

  • Building #155 (Old Public Health) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 3
  • Beer and Wine store area from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5
  • Nanook School parking lot in Apex from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8
  • Joamie School parking lot from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 10

According to Patterson, one thing that has been seen during other outbreaks is that people begin to be reluctant to get tested because they don't want to be the person that triggers another outbreak or triggers another lockdown.

“That's actually potentially harmful because then it spreads further and faster and we miss it and that increases the risk of having to revert to a lockdown,” said Patterson.

“So we'd encourage everybody who's part of the higher-risk group or everybody who's uncertain to make arrangements to get tested.”

The Government of Nunavut’s next COVID-19 news briefing will be on Monday.

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(24) Comments:

  1. Posted by Alan Klie on

    YES!! I don’t want to get too optimistic or ahead of myself but let’s hope it’s good news for those of us who are fully vaccinated!

    • Posted by It will Never end on

      Alan Klie, your comments in the last few days are all very good. However I don’t share your optimism.
      I firmly believe that most Canadian Politicians AND there good public health doctors are more or less anti-vax. They keep pushing the vaccination goals in ever higher percentage figures and keep adding other vague conditions to be met every time we get close to the original target.

      If you think like a politician it makes sens to keep the emergency going as long as possible, no one can challenge your power during this emergency, those in power all score very high approval ratings.

      If you think like a good public health doctor it make sens, you all the sudden very important to your employer, you become popular, and the media spotlight can become very addictive. At our local good doctor defence, who would want to go back at trying and miserably falling to convince Nunavutmiut to quick smoking and reduce there sugar intake, really, when this is all over?!

      • Posted by Alan Klie on

        Thank you for the compliment and I hope that I’ve positively contributed to the discussion over the last few days but I have to say that I disagree with you in your belief that politicians and doctors want are anti-vaccination. I’m not sure what moving targets you’re referring to but in such dynamic and uncertain situations as this pandemic it’s not unusual for things to change based on new knowledge and science. That’s kind of the point of what I’ve been saying all along. The science and knowledge has changed such that it appears to be scientifically established that isolation of fully vaccinated is unnecessary.

  2. Posted by NO MORE HUBS on

    NO MORE HUBS for fully vaccinated Nunavut Residents;

    Yukon and NWT are moving forward while Nunavut is ignoring science and OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO FREEDOM AND MOBILITY>

    • Posted by Doug on

      I like the sounds of that! These antivaxers are just delaying things and prolonging the spread of Covid, if you don’t want to get vaccinated you should also be prepared to isolate for 14 days and pay out of your pockets. Only far for your stupidity.

    • Posted by Baffin on

      Those hubs should have been paid for by each individual anyway!
      Vacation on taxpayer money!
      Stop the spending GN before
      There is no money left for Nunavut!

      • Posted by Cull Brap on

        Hub is being paid for with money provided by the federal government specifically for COVID response. This is money the GN cannot spend on anything else.

        • Posted by False on

          The hubs are not the only thing. The parameters are broader and can be used for many things, not just hotels in foreign cities.

    • Posted by Nemerode on

      NO MORE HUBS for fully vaccinated Nunavut Residents…
      you mean for all Canadian who are fully vaccinated right ??

    • Posted by Booker T. Washer on

      YES, make the the ppl who do not want the vaccine, make them pay for their own HUB stay, full price. this is endangering me and the rest who complied to the vaccine requirements. I was one of the first 50 ppl who had the shot, I see no evidences of turning to a monkey or has gained ability to fly to the moon shamanistic powers,this is not s witchcraft medicine.

  3. Posted by tuktuborel on

    Patterson’s biggest concern is Iqaluit. Again Nunavut is a big territory and the rest of us should not be under excessive isolation because of that community. Lets move on. And just so that some will not get overly excited. I do not mean open the doors wide and forget common sense.

  4. Posted by Death by the Numbers on

    Nunavut has 1 person for every 1000 people in Canada.
    If Nunavut would have been as open as the rest of Canada we would have had at least 25 COVID-19 deaths.
    Our “extreme” measures saved 21 lives. That’s 21 families whose lives have been impacted slightly, rather than having had to bury a family member.
    If that means nothing to you …

    • Posted by Alan Klie on

      I think most people agree that the isolation hubs were necessary in the beginning. I certainly had no problem with isolating when I did it and I think those who said that it was unconstitutional are wrong. However, with our increased knowledge it seems clear that vaccination prevents contraction or transmission of the virus so there’s no need for fully vaccinated individuals to isolate. And to be clear, I think that people who are not fully vaccinated (2nd dose + 2 weeks) should be made to isolate as they do pose a risk. Isolation, though, is not necessary for fully vaccinated individuals as it does not enhance the protection of the community and is a needless burden on those individuals.

      • Posted by Constitutional on

        The law requires minimal impairment. When the science now says that fully vaccinated people are no risk, the infringement is arguably no longer justified. Faced with opens such as home isolation, testing regimes and the like, there is no basis for this.

        • Posted by Alan Klie on

          I basically agree with you. I just think that at the beginning when there was no vaccine and and later when the science was uncertain that a blanket isolation requirement was necessary, justified and constitutional. Now, though, for fully vaccinated people ONLY, it can’t be justified scientifically so the isolation requirement should be dropped for fully vaccinated individuals ONLY, with appropriate exceptions where necessary, such as companion children.

    • Posted by Good On You on

      I like what you’re saying. People who are wanting the isolation requirements to end are only thinking of themselves, wanting to travel. They can’t think of what could happen. Although the risk of contracting COVID after being fully vaccinated is a lot less now, there is still the possibly of contracting the virus and spreading it to other who cannot receive the vaccine. If they want to make changes, change from 14 to 4, 5, 6 days for fully vaccinated residents and 7 days at non vaccinated residents expense. For once, reward people who follow recommendations and stop accommodating people who don’t follow recommendations.

      • Posted by Alan Klie on

        You can’t live your life based solely on possibilities. There’s a possibility that any plane you take will crash. There’s a possibility you’ll get hit by a car going to the store. And it goes on. We have to assume some minimal amount of risk in our lives. In this case, vaccination is scientifically shown to reduce the risk of contraction or transmission to essentially negligible levels. Using science as our guide, the isolation requirement for fully vaccinated individuals is unnecessary. To be clear, I think isolation should remain for those who aren’t fully vaccinated as they pose an appreciable risk to their fellow Nunavummiut. On the other side, you have to consider what’s happened so far. In terms of numbers, the outbreaks we’ve had have not led to large numbers of people dying from COVID-19 or or limited health care system overburdened. I don’t see how the risk is greater now with high levels of vaccination than before when there were no or low levels of vaccination.

        • Posted by Karl Popper on

          I believe the word we are looking for here is probability… of course, we do live our lives based on probabilities (at least we believe we do), whatever those might be.

    • Posted by 650 cases in NU on

      650 cases, with 35,000 people means 1.8% of Nunavut was infected with this disease.

      I’m all for how we started this lockdown. I’m glad I live in a community that had 0 cases. I won’t be going south because it’s safe up here.

      But I think it’s time we changed the rules a bit. If I got vaccinated (which I did) and still had to wait 2 weeks to get through an isolation hub, I just might think the vaccine was pointless and skip it next year. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of thing.

  5. Posted by In other words on

    What Dr. Patterson means is that they need a week to come up with their plan. They have had a year and this shows you how reactionary they are. Massive outrage about continuing the hubs without a word when all Provinces opening plans published, Yukon saying vaccine means no isolation, Nfld saying the same, Federal government report saying same for international travel. GN now decides ‘oh I guess we should think about it’. They were too busy trying to keep up with a minor outbreak they had a year to plan for and still couldn’t keep up with.

    • Posted by Alan Klie on

      I’ve heard the announcement’s coming on Monday’s briefing but don’t hold me to that.

  6. Posted by piitaqanngi on

    Good to see the Beer and Wine Store providing Covid-19 tests. Offer few free beers for those not inoculated at that particular site and Iqaluit’s vaccination woes could be fixed.

  7. Posted by Patients on

    It amazes me how people think, especially people like the civil liberties. Green Peace kind of thinking.
    This is simple the GN and Dr. Patterson done what they had to do. As is happening everywhere the restrictions are easing up and will also ease up in Nunavut mostly this week. People who are double vaccinated will benefit first and so they should. That’s following the science and should be incentive for people to get vaccinated.
    If the GN and Dr. Patterson did not impose the Hubs there would have been thousands of Nunavut people dead by now. We have paid a small price for the inconvenience.
    People need to relax and wait it out as we have for the past year. Give credit where credit is due. Good job GN and Dr. Patterson.

    • Posted by Sam on

      I cannot believe the number of people in the community I live in that will not get vaccinated, mature smart adults, they are putting the people they love and are related to in deaths doorway .with the new variants 4 th wave will be here by sept, and we will blame gn and Patterson , Donald trump thinking .

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