Omicron variant confirmed in Nunavik
Regional health board imposes 28-day travel restrictions
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Nunavik, the region’s health board reported on Sunday. It was first confirmed on Dec. 23, a joint news release issued on Sunday by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, the Kativik Regional Government and Makivik Corp. states.
That prompted the three organizations to limit travel in and out of the region to essential travel only.
“The decision to restrict travels and impose a temporary lockdown is based on the seriousness of the situation and is taken for everyone’s health and safety,” Makivik president Pita Aatami said in the release.
The travel restrictions will take effect on Dec. 29 and will be in place for a 28-day period, the board said.
“The main purpose of this measure is to delay as much as possible the spread of the virus … within the region,” the board stated in a post on its Facebook page Sunday.
Travellers into Nunavik from southern Canada will be required to apply for a Nunavik Territory Access Authorization form. People travelling between two northern communities or travelling from the north to the south will not be required to complete the form, the board said.
Because the public health measure has a “high impact” on Nunavimmiut, the board will re-evaluate it on a weekly basis, following how the situation evolves both in the North and the south.
Nunavimmiut are encouraged to do what they can to avoid adding pressure to the already “overloaded” hospital system in the southern part of the province.
Omicron is spreading “at an incredible pace” in the south and is affecting the entire province’s health-care system, the release states. Southern hospitals are reaching their maximum capacity and won’t be able to accept patients.
There were 22 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavik as of Friday, according to the health board’s most recent update.