Restrictions to ease in Arviat, says Nunavut’s chief public health officer

Businesses, government offices and daycares to reopen, and students to return to school part-time

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced Tuesday that restrictions in Arviat will be eased starting Wednesday. Schools, businesses and daycares can reopen, though with restrictive measures, and masks are still mandatory. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Businesses, government offices and daycares will be allowed to reopen in Arviat on Wednesday, as restrictions begin to ease in the territory’s COVID-19 epicentre.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced on Tuesday that the community’s schools will reopen at a Stage 3 level. That means elementary schools will open three days a week, while middle and high schools will open two days a week on staggered schedules, with some remote learning.

Outdoor gatherings will be allowed for up to 25 people, and indoor gatherings will be restricted to five people, excluding those living in the same household.

The territory is recommending residents create two-household bubbles.

Masks remain mandatory for anyone outside their homes, and travel to and from Arviat is still restricted.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the health of Arviat is much different than it was in November, December,” Patterson said at a news conference. “It makes sense to ease measures a little bit in recognition of the change in impact.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 23 active cases in the territory, all of which are in Arviat.

Arviat has seen 88 per cent of Nunavut’s 381 COVID-19 cases since the virus first arrived in the territory last fall. People in the hamlet of about 3,000 have largely been living under some sort of lockdown since then, with a brief respite in January.

Patterson pointed to several promising signs in Arviat. Health officials have been able to trace all COVID-19 infections to their sources. And it’s been more than two weeks since the community’s last mass vaccination clinic. Patterson said that means the most at-risk residents of the community are “very well protected from severe infection.”

On Tuesday, the hamlet’s state of emergency ended after 13 days.

Patterson said this week or next, the community will receive another shipment of vaccines, enough for everyone ages 18 and up.

Patterson said the territory is on track to receive enough of the vaccine by the end of March to be able to vaccinate 75 per cent of the territory’s adults.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    only 23 active cases?

    great idea to ease restrictions, they weren’t working all that well anyway right….

  2. Posted by Quick on

    Like before isn’t this a little premature as the last time? If the numbers start to increase again we will know who to thank.

    • Posted by anonymous on

      I agree with you, it is premature to open facilities/schools etc. while I see that there are about 23 cases in Arviat. Come on Dr. Patterson think before you allow for facilities/schools etc to open. This virus is still on-going in that community, don’t make it worse by opening schools etc. My 2 cents

  3. Posted by Arviat guess on

    Finally were sick of saying home doing nothing kids doing nothing no school.

  4. Posted by Umingmak on

    This is crazy. They’ve already done this too early once before, when there were zero known active cases, and it spread again.

    They will most likely live to regret this decision. Arviat should have to be COVID-free for a month prior to re-opening, just as it was in Sanikiluaq, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove.

  5. Posted by arviat on

    So sad that Arviat hasn’t been able to get to 0. We followed all those rules so much ,,, Whats the reasons, is it houses being too crowded, is it people breaking the rules???? dont know but so sad for all my Inuqatiks,,,

    REally dont look like Arviat won??? it looks like Arviat lost and so did the Health depts, and even our hamlet was too weak, even saying dont report people breaking Pattersens rules

    Get ready for this next lock downed coming up!!!

    • Posted by fact jack on

      would like to see some facts with that oversized helping of FAKE NEWS, lol

      nice try tho will give you full marks for creativity

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