Whale Cove sees first presumptive case of COVID-19

Outbreaks in many Nunavut communities testing health system’s capacity, says territory’s chief public health officer

A presumptive case of COVID-19 was reported in Whale Cove on Wednesday. (File photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Updated on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 at 11:50 a.m.

Nunavummiut are urged to follow public health orders as COVID-19 has appeared in another community and multiple outbreaks continue to stretch the health-care system’s capacity.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced a first presumptive case in Whale Cove on Wednesday, giving the disease a presence in 12 of Nunavut’s 25 communities.

“Managing this many simultaneous outbreaks is testing the limits of our capacity,” he said in a news release.

Patterson announced 21 new confirmed cases in the territory on Wednesday, 18 in Iqaluit and three in Qikiqtarjuaq.

The total active case count is now 231, without counting presumptive cases.

Patterson urged Nunavummiut to stay calm and commit to following public health orders.

“On behalf of health-care staff in all our communities, please help us manage this wave and allow us to prioritize those who need help the most,” he said in the release.

Active case breakdown:

  • Arviat — 48
  • Baker Lake — 1
  • Cambridge Bay — 1
  • Chesterfield Inlet — 2
  • Igloolik — 15
  • Iqaluit — 72
  • Kinngait — 7
  • Pangnirtung — 19
  • Pond Inlet — 1
  • Qikiqtarjuaq — 6
  • Rankin Inlet — 45
  • Sanirajak — 14
  • Sanikiluaq — 0 confirmed cases (and 1 presumptive case)
  • Whale Cove — 0 confirmed cases (and 1 presumptive case)

There were a total of 231 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Wednesday, without counting presumptive cases of the virus. (Graphic by Mélanie Ritchot)

There were no recovered cases on Wednesday and a total of 16 cases have recovered since the current outbreak was detected.

The Health Department said corrections were made to Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet’s case counts because of a double count and a miscount. There has been a total of 16 recoveries in this outbreak.

Travel is limited to essential purposes only for Arviat, Cambridge Bay, Igloolik, Iqaluit, Kinngait, Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet and Sanirajak.

Strict Nunavut-wide public health orders will stay in place until at least Jan. 17:

  • Gatherings in homes limited to household members plus five for emergencies
  • All indoor gathering outside of homes are not allowed, including group counselling sessions
  • Five people may gather outdoors
  • Essential services like grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies are open, limited to one shopper per household
  • Gyms, arenas, churches and personal services like chiropractors and hair dressers are closed
  • Schools are closed until Jan. 17
  • Bars are closed and restaurants may open for take-out only
  • Daycares are only open for children of essential workers
  • Qikiqtani General Hospital is open for emergencies only
  • Visitors are not allowed in long-term care facilities or boarding homes

If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, the Government of Nunavut advises them to call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-975-8601.

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok, Human Resources Minister Adam Lightstone and Dr. Patterson are scheduled to hold an update on the COVID-19 situation at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the date for the reopening of schools. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Jan. 17.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by where did the cases go?? on

    Ok one day there was 1 positive case and 3 presumptive cases in Cambridge Bay. Next day there are no presumptive cases. What gives! Please try to keep the information accurate.

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  2. Posted by What happened? on

    What happened to the 3 presumptive cases in Cambridge Bay? Yesterday news story and GN release included it but not today. Were they false positive or what is happening? We’d like to know. And why is GN not sending the testing machine to Cambridge Bay so they don’t have to send out the test.

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    • Posted by Oscare on

      Remember the Kitikmeot region is the “Forgotten” region in Nunavut. That’s why we were better off under the jurisdiction of the NWT. “REPUBLIC OF KITIKMEOT”. yes, we did have presumptive cases (7) listed now nothing and still one case listed. The Health Departments in every community are doing their best to ensure all contact tracing is done correctly and fast to prevent spread, but it come’s down to the PEOPLE listening to the CPHO rules. I know for a fact that some people are still visiting and still not vaccinated and not wearing masks. Some people just don’t care. The GN MUST report accurate numbers to ensure our community residence know the truth.

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    • Posted by Cambaymiut on

      The GN has been inconsistent. Initially they reported all the presumptives, then they said they were only going to count the confirmed positives, now they’re doing it willy-nilly.

      Of the initial two presumptives in Cambridge Bay, one was confirmed, then they announced three more presumptives waiting to be confirmed (which is what the news is reporting), but they haven’t announced that there are more presumptives than that in the community waiting for confirmation.

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      • Posted by Pants down on

        It feels like the GN is really unprepared for this wave. It’s like they are stumbling around half asleep compared to their relatively decent communication and messaging during the first wave.

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        • Posted by Pants on fire on

          They are beyond unprepared for this. It was only a matter of time that with a more transmissible variant we had it pop up in multiple communities at once. Having it be during Xmas holidays when already over worked health centers were struggling is the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Add to it all the GN staff out of territory on vacation. The true COVID case count is much higher, the testing is delayed and unable to reflect the true cases in each community. Some of these cases are taking so long to get identified that within a few days of being known they start testing negative and count as recovered. That makes contact tracing asinine, “Where have you been or gone since 10 days ago?”

          We were lucky to have made it this far with so few cases. As the variants become more easily transmissible we will have this situation play out again.

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    • Posted by testing lab on

      Cambridge Bay has a well equipped Research lab run by CHARS located in that community. One would think the the NU government and the Feds would be able to support Nunavut by making use of some of this lab during this pandemic and process this Regions samples rather than sending them all over the country.

      Oh cant do that! Why?

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  3. Posted by Don’t Panic on

    Looking at Ottawa, CBC reports:

    “There are currently 32 Ottawa residents in local hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, according to Ottawa Public Health (OPH), six more than in Tuesday’s update and the most since early June 2021.

    Four people with COVID-19 remain in an ICU.”

    Ottawa’s population is at least 20 times Nunavut’s population. The current wave picked up a few weeks earlier there. It’s true that their health care capacity is much stronger and (all else being equal) the people are healthier. But it’s also a much older population.

    Consider also that the actual infection numbers are a lot higher than the case numbers. There’s no need to panic.

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  4. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    Still pointing fingers. The GN is to blame for the rise because they don’t (or do) report presumptive cases or because Cambay (the only community in the Kitikmeot) doesn’t have a testing machine.
    Right now people, what counts are this

    Strict Nunavut-wide public health orders will stay in place until at least Jan. 17:

    Gatherings in homes limited to household members plus five for emergencies
    All indoor gatherings outside of homes are not allowed, including group counseling sessions
    Five people may gather outdoors
    Essential services like grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies are open, limited to one shopper per household
    Gyms, arenas, churches, and personal services like chiropractors and hairdressers are closed
    Schools are closed until Jan. 10
    Bars are closed and restaurants may open for take-out only
    Daycares are only open for children of essential workers
    Qikiqtani General Hospital is open for emergencies only
    Visitors are not allowed in long-term care facilities or boarding homes
    If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, the Government of Nunavut advises them to call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-975-8601.

    Let’s not get nitpicky about the numbers till after this is resolved.

    Lots of typos and maybe the reporter changed the date for school closures, who knows?

    The issue is for YOU to follow the recommendations and let the professionals do their job.

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  5. Posted by John K on

    Did anyone else’s less responsible coworkers get a cozy little vacay extension?

    Mine did; good thing I got my booster…

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