Nunavut’s COVID-19 case count down days after testing diminishes

Nunavut case count down to 215; no more confirmed cases in Baker Lake

There were a total of 215 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Monday, without counting presumptive cases of the virus. (Graphic by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Nunavut’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases went down for the second day in a row on Monday, but it’s hard to say whether fewer people actually have the disease, or if this is a result of less testing.

There are now 215 active cases across 14 communities in Nunavut and a total of 138 recovered cases, according to a Twitter post by Premier P.J. Akeeagok on Monday.

The recovered case tally includes 81 recoveries announced on Sunday, which brought the first drop in cases since the latest surge in COVID-19 cases began.

But it is impossible to gauge whether cases are actually going down in the territory now that tests are being rationed.

Health Minister John Main announced Jan. 6 that the Health Department will ration confirmatory tests to prevent health-care workers from getting sick.

Now, PCR tests will be used to confirm the presence of COVID-19 in a new community, in high-risk settings like elders homes and for critical workers.

Rapid tests are being used to identify the spread of COVID-19 from house to house, but if someone living in a house with someone who has the virus develops symptoms, it will be assumed they also have COVID-19.

This means recoveries will likely be added to the case count in chunks instead of one by one, when entire households are considered recovered.

Active case breakdown:

  • Arviat — 28
  • Cambridge Bay — 19
  • Chesterfield Inlet — 4
  • Igloolik — 2
  • Iqaluit — 62
  • Kinngait — 22
  • Pangnirtung — 8
  • Pond Inlet — 1
  • Qikiqtarjuaq — 4
  • Rankin Inlet — 43
  • Sanirajak — 8
  • Sanikiluaq — 1
  • Whale Cove — 7
  • Coral Harbour — 6

Among the 14 communities with confirmed cases, Iqaluit has the highest case count at 62 cases, and Rankin Inlet is second on the list with 43 cases.

After a presumptive case was announced in Whale Cove on Wednesday, the community now has seven confirmed cases.

Sanikiluaq’s formerly presumptive case also appears to be confirmed, with one active case now being reported in the community.

Cambridge Bay’s case count jumped from two to 19 over a matter of days.

Coral Harbour went from one presumptive case on Sunday to six confirmed cases on Monday, while Baker Lake no longer has any confirmed cases.

New exposure notices were issued over the weekend and on Monday for five flights going to Cambridge Bay, Iqaluit and Sanikiluaq since Dec. 28.

The GN is asking all passengers on these flights to self-monitor for symptoms until specific dates whether they are vaccinated or not.

New flight exposure notices:

  • Calm Air flight #MO240 from Winnipeg to Sanikiluaq on Dec. 28 — self-monitor until Jan.11.
  • Canadian North flight #5T103 from Ottawa to Iqaluit on Jan. 3— self-monitor until Jan. 17
  • Canadian North flight #CN226 from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay on Jan. 3 — self-monitor until Jan. 17
  • Canadian North flight #CN228 from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay on Jan. 4 — self-monitor until Jan. 18
  • Canadian North flight #5T105 from Ottawa to Iqaluit on Jan. 5 — self-monitor until Jan. 19

Akeeagok and Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, are scheduled to give updates on Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, which can be streamed on the legislative assembly’s website or listened to by radio in Iqaluit at 92.5 FM.

Nunavut schools are currently slated to reopen on Jan. 17 and Education Minister Pamela Gross is expected to speak at Tuesday’s update.

The last territorial government released a school reopening plan in 2021, which includes keeping schools open as a goal and guides for when communities should move to remote learning.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Dafuq is the GN doing on

    What I want to know is why didn’t the GN just take help from the armed forces for covid relief? The GN has said time and time again that they can’t handle large scale outbreaks, and what do they do when one happens? They take a trump style plan of testing less to take away extra pressure on our fragile healthcare system. We can’t test enough and continue day to day health operations? Let the military help do testing. It makes no sense that they would risk untested spread rather than ask for help.

  2. Posted by Melissa on

    Of course the numbers are going down! They aren’t testing people who are in close contact or reside in the same household!! People are getting excited that Covid is getting better, it’s not! They are doing the same thing in Quebec and the hospitals are overwhelmed and to the breaking point and only getting worse by the day by hundreds even though the numbers have gone down slightly. Don’t be fooled and let your guard down just because the Government decided to pull back on testing. Common sense tells you this!

    • Posted by Jimmy on

      It’s all about appearances. Don’t you know if you want to rise in the ranks you have to look good? These numbers don’t make anyone in power look good. Thus, you got to get the numbers you want, everyone says ‘yay’ ‘yay’ look at what wonderful leaders we have. Now everything can get back to normal and all the voters that vote you in are happy again.

    • Posted by Name withheld on

      I believe what you say 100%!!

      What they don’t realize is with the posted confirm cases going down,

      More and more people are going to argue to open the restaurant, bars, etc and start going around unmasked.

      They think they are too busy now to test everyone who shows symptoms. Wait until they start sending people out on medivac, they will need to pay overtime to nurses, doctors and local staff members, along with $35-40,000.00 cost of charters.

      They can easily get the local front desk workers in each community to help with contact tracing if the Covid team feel overtime with the workload. It’s not like each health centre, clinic sees patients every few minutes where they need to register patients.

  3. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    They have told us time and tine again “people who are close contacts should isolate for 14 days, then 10 days”

    Now that COVID arrived in some communities, they tell us if you were a household or a contact to reduce strain on testing we will assume the whole house has it.

    But none of that happened. People were told they are positive, v]but close contacts would be seen driving around town like no problem at all. The GN tells us Cambridge has 19 cases then our appointed Mayor tells us 34 active cases. Totally frustrating.

  4. Posted by Lisa P on

    numbers are going down and omicron is going away. time to open the schools back up to full classes. everything will be fine now. just look at the numbers!

    • Posted by Over the head on

      No one appreciates good satire around here

  5. Posted by SNAFU on

    How are we going to open the schools if we don’t know the prevalence of covid in the community? Surely we care about that, as it is why they are closed in the first place.

  6. Posted by You Can’t Handle the Truth on

    How many Nunavummiut with COVID are in hospital or in community clinics, or have been sent south?

    How many are in ICU?
    How many have died?

    We all know the situation is serious.
    But the scary thing is that the government is not telling us what is happening.
    That is how a government loses the confidence of the governed.
    That is how a government loses legitimacy.
    If you want to see what follows a government losing legitimacy, turn on the television set and see what’s happening in Sudan, or Seria, or the Congo.

    Please, PJ, don’t take us there.

  7. Posted by Covid Extremist verses Anti Vaxers on

    Time for both parties to get on with life
    So sick of hearing the Covid Extremist on here everyday saying the world is coming to an end because the Nunavut Government did not completely close down Nunavut for the past two years.
    Also so sick of all the Anti Vaxers trying to brain wash and start a cult on social media.
    You can never please everybody, so your dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.
    Turn on your TV or Internet and see how the rest of the world is dealing with Covid instead of just Nunavut/Canada

  8. Posted by No test = no covid = Gov trying to fool people on

    What an insult to everybody’s intelligence. No testing = no information.

  9. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    The decrease in testing is not unique to Nunavut, in fact the majority (if not all) of the provinces and territories have cut testing back to symptomatic, hospitalized, and critical workers.
    So the original word out of South Africa was that the Omicron variant was very contagious and infections would double in 2 – 3 days. This was roughly 6 weeks ago yet no one seemed to actually believe the numbers. Guess what, the reports were accurate.
    Infections doubling every 2 – 3 days, it’s not hard to figure out what would happen. In fact a lot of the health care professionals were warning that there were not enough tests. Not enough people. Critical staff would be off sick, or isolating, or just frankly burnt out.
    There are two things that are saving us from having bodies lying in the streets.
    One – vaccines. They may not stop you from getting Omicron, but they are effective at keeping you alive.
    Two – Omicron appears to be a milder infection, it does not appear to reproduce as quick when it invades and therefore the body’s defenses can react before it creates havoc in your lungs. That is if you are vaccinated. If not, well maybe your immune system is up to the job, maybe not. Roll the dice and see if you end up in the ICU on a ventilator. Go ahead.
    Our next round of vaccines will probably be able to tackle Alpha, Delta, and Omicron adding more protection (all current vaccines were targeted against the original strain of SARS COV-2). Hopefully we will also have the new antivirals produced in a few months too.
    Science will likely win in the end, or at least fight SARS COV-2 to a draw, but that could take a little bit more time yet.
    Until then it would help if everyone were vaccinated. For those that are not yet vaccinated, come up with just one good reason why you have not gotten a shot yet.

    SARS COV-2 (Covid-19) is not a global conspiracy.
    There’s no global cabal trying to take over the world
    The vaccine works (vaccines are not meant to prevent infection), that some do is a testament to how effective they are.
    Vaccines are meant to prime your immune system to fight the virus.
    Vaccine are proven (9 billion doses administered)
    mRNA does not alter your DNA
    Mega doses of Vitamin C and D are not better than a vaccine.
    Ivermectin is to deworm livestock, it does not work against the virus.
    Some doctors are quacks, snake oil salesmen, this even includes some in positions of authority (looking at you Florida).
    If you are not vaccinated you are part of the problem – when you catch coronavirus, and you will, you may get sick enough to give the virus time to mutate. Get vaccinated, and wear a mask.

    • Posted by Pandemonic Prophet on

      Your point about the vaccinated providing an opportunity for the virus to mutate is misleading. The opportunity to mutate comes from the vast populations of unvaccinated people in less developed countries, not from the relatively small proportion of people in the developed world who are unvaccinated (some of whom are young and healthy and others have natural immunity – high-risk people in Canada should definitely get vaccinated).
      The insistence on plying perfectly healthy young people with boosters etc. while the less developed world remains unvaccinated is the crazy policy that is spawning variants.
      In Canada the unvaccinated are mostly a risk to themselves at this point. True, for the next few months the high-risk unvaccinated are contributing to our health care system being overwhelmed, but overweight people, smokers etc. put similar pressures on the system (both on an ongoing basis and during the pandemic).

  10. Posted by H. Maxim on

    We are all going to get this highly-contagious but relatively mild disease at some point. You can hide in your house for the next year or two, or three, hoping it will go away. It might, but it probably won’t. I for one am not willing to hide any longer.

  11. Posted by Re-open on

    The cases are far higher then they can admit. One positive case in a household with 15 people is 15 cases not the one being reported. Some provinces have abandoned testing entirely, as they cannot begin to keep up and staff are overworked and underpaid. Some places are switching to monitoring sewage, because it is far less staff intensive. Whether or not society likes it, COVID is here to stay. It is time to be done with the nonsense of Lockdowns as the vaccine rates are very high in most places. If people chose to not be vaccinated, they chose to deal with the consequences. If the vaccines and boosters are as effective as the government is stating, then why are we putting everything on hold again? Our health care workers have been overwhelmed and understaffed before 2020 and COVID’s existence. The government is pushing most to the breaking point, their mental health seems to matter to no one. Much respect to the front line staff who have been dealing with this now for 2 years. Many nurses are working 60++ hours of overtime alone a week, and haven’t had a day off in months. How would you feel going to swab someone who is intoxicated from partying and laughs in your face because the vaccine is stupid?

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