Red Cross provides COVID-19 outbreak response in Iqaluit

Relief workers assisting at men’s shelter, assessing essential workplaces within the city

The Canadian Red Cross is providing relief support at Iqaluit’s men’s shelter, seen here. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Canadian Red Cross is in Iqaluit to aid with the city’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The team arrived in the capital on May 14, after a request from the City of Iqaluit’s virtual emergency operations centre.

Among the Red Cross’s tasks, identified by the City of Iqaluit, is providing relief workers to the Uquutaq Society’s men’s shelter.

Earlier in the outbreak, staff at the society’s low-barrier shelter and at least one person staying there tested positive for the virus, leaving the facilities short-staffed.

“Our vital community organizations have faced staff shortages during the state of emergency, pushing them to the brink of shutting their doors on those who do not have a safe place to go,” Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said in a news release.

“Now, more than ever, these services could mean life or death.”

Red Cross teams are also conducting epidemic prevention and control work, which began virtually prior to their arrival.

This includes site assessments for essential workplaces within the city, and recommendations on ways to make them safer. The teams will provide suggestions for improved physical distancing, proper use of protective personal equipment and the appropriate cleaning products.

The City of Iqaluit says it won’t specify the names of the organizations and essential services that the Red Cross will be assessing for confidentiality reasons.

The Red Cross will also be organizing first aid sessions and providing health and wellness support services to local organizations.

Following the team’s departure at the end of next week, it will continue with virtual site assessments and additional support.

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