Nunavut warns travel bubbles with N.W.T. and Manitoba could close

“The second wave of COVID-19 in Canada is making the situation unpredictable”

Since June, travellers from Nunavut have been able to travel back and forth from the Northwest Territories without going into isolation for two weeks before their return. That could change if there is any sign of community transmission of COVID-19 in the N.W.T. (File photo)

By Jane George

Some Nunavut residents travelling outside the territory could face unexpected delays when returning home if the spread of COVID-19 continues.

The Northwest Territories and Churchill, Manitoba, are currently considered common travel areas or “bubbles,” in which Nunavut residents are able to travel to and from without a 14-day isolation period.

But “this could change at any time if transmission of COVID-19 is confirmed in any of the common travel area jurisdictions,” Nunavut’s Department of Health warned in a statement issued on Monday, Oct. 20.

“The Department of Health would like to remind all Nunavummiut that travel out of Nunavut is not recommended. The second wave of COVID-19 in Canada is making the situation unpredictable.”

Last week the N.W.T. announced three new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, one in Inuvik and two in Yellowknife.

These were travel related.

If these or other cases expand to the community, travel could be restricted “without notice” and travel back to Nunavut might be delayed, the department said.

“Travellers could also be subject to 14 days of isolation before being allowed entry to Nunavut.”

The department said that entry into the isolation sites in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa could also be delayed if there are no rooms available.

Priority would also be given to medical travellers, the department said.

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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by Unsustainable on

    We need to learn to live with the virus, since it isn’t going anywhere.
    Adding draconian measures is just another way of punishing Nunavummiut. Another $30 Million will be spent on these so called “isolation hubs” which look good on paper, but in practice are a joke.
    Lets look at Greenland: Rapid testing, zero cases. Not millions wasted on “keeping people safe”.

    • Posted by Observer on

      Greenland’s current rules: “You must present a negative COVID-19 test before entering Greenland. The Greenland Government requires that you be quarantined on arrival in Greenland. You can be re-tested on the fifth day in Greenland. If this test is negative, you can leave your quarantine (it may take a few days before you receive a response). If you are not re-tested, you have to remain in quarantine for 14 days.”

      • Posted by Distiction on

        Distinction: quarantine in Greenland. This is how it is done in Atlantic Canada also. Let Nunavummuit quarantine at home in Nunavut after presenting a negative COVID-19 test and stop wasting the money on these hubs.

        • Posted by Bubble Resident on

          In Atlantic Canada we’re all wearing masks, staying in smaller group, social distancing and have things like delivery services that make self quarantine at home easy. Far less 10+ people to a house.

          Plus a health care system equipped to deal with ICU patients.

          Iqaluit doesn’t have that, let alone the communities.

        • Posted by Concerned Nunavut Resident on

          I think CPHO is doing well. He’s kept COVID out since March, luck seems to have little to do with it.

          Isolation at home in over Crowded Housing makes no sense. If isolation Is done in in the community hotel but it has few or no beds, what is The solution then? What if your cousin works at the hotel In community you’re isolating at, and you have a sick aunt you want to visit while in isolation. What if they let you go, but you sis have COVID how much transmission would happen?

          Leave CPHO to do his job and be happy we are at zero cases.

          • Posted by Luck Matters Too on

            Luck is definitely a factor, lets be real. It easily could have made it in by now.

          • Posted by okay on

            At what cost! The Nunavut and NWT plan failed to take psychology into consideration. When the research is done, the Nunavut and the NWT’s methods will not be the way to handle a crisis like a pandemic. Don’t you find it strange that the government and the bureaucrats will tell us that our health care sucks so much ….. that they have do even more damage to your psychology health to protect you from another illness? Who will be picking up the pieces?

    • Posted by Resident on

      I 100% agree with this. The isolation hubs re a good idea in theory and look good on paper but are a joke. It’s by sheer luck that Covid has not made its way to Nunavut. Your in constant daily contact with the outside world while in the hub so it simply makes so sense. Getting testing up and running !!

      • Posted by Think about it on

        Thought about this and we came to the conclusion that maybe its because we have always had our TB shots, that is why there is no cases in Nunavut. Since this is called Nuvarjuarnaq!

    • Posted by Geoffrey on

      Iam from Nunavut went through 2weeks isolation in Winnipeg I agree with the commit in the article about being a joke wasting millions testing people before going home is not only more cost effective we will spend less time in Winnipeg more time in Winnipeg does more harm then and the chance of getting invected increase.

    • Posted by Unik on

      The virus will go somewhere once there’s a safe vaccine.

      We are one of the only places in the entire world that have not had a single case. How are the measures not working according to you? How are they a joke?

      Rapid testing is on the works. The Chief medical officer has said so. Rapid testing, along with lower cases at travel hubs are two of the requirements for us to lift isolation.
      If I remember correctly rapid eating means 4 days. And we’re not quite there yet.

  2. Posted by billy o on

    The communities in Nunavut have been covid free since April. hundreds of travellers have gone south for medical since then. Teachers have returned from the south. People have gone on holidays. Nunavut has remained covid free. Say what you want but the isolation hubs are working. The numbers speak for themselves.

  3. Posted by Christine on

    It’s not a matter of if but when Nunavut gets Covid. With the growing list of critical workers not having to isolate before entering Nunavut, Covid will end up here without a doubt. The Government can’t keep the hubs in place for as long as Covid is going to be around. We will eventually need to learn to live with this virus and stop putting off the inevitable. Cut down time in the hubs and offer testing before entering Nunavut. And yes I realize how the virus will most likely spread like wildfire and the lack of medical access but people are struggling enough already mentally with 2020 and we need to move forward what ever that may look like and stop hiding.

  4. Posted by Adam Noah on

    The govt of Nunavut would rather spend on quarantine instead of using the same system greenland is using they’ve already spent over 60-80 million already on these hubs even with a shortage of housing and over crowding

  5. Posted by Frustrated Traveller on

    Well then stop making us leave the Territory to travel across the Territory. The Kitikmeot is cut off from the rest of Nunavut. To go to and from the Kitikmeot to the rest of Nunavut we are forced to overnight in NWT, Bring back the direct flights!

  6. Posted by Jamie Bobbitt on

    I have a simple statement to make. Y don’t government workers nots have to quarantine and are flying on the same flights as the people that just did a 14 day quarantine. This kind of defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do.
    For the isolation hub. I have been in the hubs and brought things to people that were there and lots of people are not even wearing masks. At the least not even distancing from others.
    I am going to be going in isolation in a few days with my newborn son and his mother. It’s going to be a difficult time with a newborn baby. Especially with people that are under the influence of alcohol. I think this should be taken more seriously and not as a vacation.

  7. Posted by Thinking about.. on

    Just close all check up for medical travel unless People should go on medical if it’s Serious only. My Parents were away for a Month and already going back in just 3 weeks after they got home.

    • Posted by More waste money on

      Girl in my apartment just went to Winnipeg for medical. Asked her what she was doing there, her answer: getting an alergy test! An Allergy Test!? Another girl went so she could get an ULTRA SOUND. How is this emergency?
      100% agree so many of these medical travelers are not serious at all and can wait.

  8. Posted by It’s Luck on

    There is a lot of chat here about how the hubs are necessary and have proven their worth with 0 cases in territory. I am more skeptical. Nunavut has the population of a small rural town or municipality in Southern Canada. There are many small rural towns presently without any cases of covid 19 even though they are connected in far more ways to the rest of Canada than Nunavut. Food for thought to those suggesting $60 million dollars a year for hubs is sustainable and undeniably ‘worth it’.

    • Posted by okay on

      That is an excellent observation.

  9. Posted by Thomas on

    The guards at these hubs are home every night after their shift. They should also hire Nunavutmiut to work and guard at these hubs while staying at the same hotel while working. There is no need for isolation when the southern guards are risking everyone, everyday at these places.

  10. Posted by George on

    The whole process is flawed from the get go.

    I travelled to Yellowknife at the end of September for an important medical procedure. Apparently, it was safe for me to come back to Nunavut because I had a letter allowing me to get on the airplane, saying that the Chief Public Health Officer had “examined my case” and determined it was safe. What a joke!

    Since early October I have had all the classic symptoms of COVID-19. I probably picked it up on the flight home. Current wisdom says that I should only go to the Health Centre if I’m having difficulty breathing. So I’m isolating at home, though I have to get groceries and also get my flu shot at a crowded Health Centre.

    So, let’s not be pretend the virus is not in Nunavut already. I can’t be the only person in Nunavut in a similar situation.

    • Posted by Tyrion Lannister on

      George, the only process that is flawed is your process.
      Please do the following, and do it right now.
      — Call the nursing station and arrange to get a covid-19 swab test so they can send it out to a lab to confirm if you are positive or negative
      — Tell the nurse or the CPHO about anyone you have been in contact with, so they can do proper contact tracing in the event of a positive test result.
      Do it. Do it now. Don’t wait, don’t waste your time with social media posts. If you are symptomatic, get a test. Do it now and get tested.

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