Nunavut public health to loosen restrictions in Iqaluit this week
GN will start to test wastewater in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet as part of COVID-19 detection
Public health authorities announced plans to loosen more restrictions in Iqaluit this week, as Nunavut’s capital nears one month with no new cases of COVID-19.
Starting Friday, more people will be able to gather indoors and outdoors, while restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, libraries and fitness clubs can open to a limited number of patrons.
“As there are no new cases of COVID-19 in Iqaluit, it is safe to further ease public health measures,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said in a news release.
“It’s important to remember that Iqaluit’s outbreak is not yet over, and all Nunavummiut need to continue to be vigilant.”
As of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nunavut’s Department of Health has approved the following changes:
- Outdoor gatherings can increase to up to 100 people
- At-home gatherings can increase to 15 people, in addition to household members
- Indoor public gatherings, including churches, may now welcome 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is fewer
- Restaurants and licensed facilities can open to 50 per cent capacity
- Group counselling is permitted for up to 20 people
- Fitness classes can host a maximum of 10 people
- Museums, galleries and libraries may allow group tours
- Iqaluit’s movie theatre can open at 50 per cent capacity
- Indoor team sports are now permitted
Licensed facilities are still not permitted to host group activities like darts, pool, live music or karaoke.
And Nunavummiut must continue to wear masks in indoor public venues in all communities across the territory.
Wastewater testing will help with COVID-19 detection
The Department of Health also announced Wednesday that it will start testing wastewater in both Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.
The testing is part of COVID-19 surveillance, the department said, and will allow faster virus detection and response to outbreaks in those communities.
This testing will be conducted as a pilot project over the next three months.
As of this week, 22,026 Nunavummiut have had at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, or roughly 55 per cent of the territory’s total population.
Roughly 44 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated.
There have been no active cases of the virus in the territory since June 22.