With 16 new cases, Nunavut’s active COVID-19 total jumps to 56

Health minister asks Arviat residents to obey public health restrictions

By Nunatsiaq News

Updated at 4 p.m.

Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak is pleading with Arviat residents to follow public health restrictions and stop visiting each other, as the community sees another spike in its number of COVID-19 cases.

“Many, many more people in Arviat that are listening are getting tired,” he said during a news conference on Friday, Dec 11. “They want to go out, they want to visit, but they cannot.”

Nunavut reported 16 new COVID-19 cases Friday — all in Arviat — raising the territory’s total active case count to 56, the Government of Nunavut said in a news release issued Dec. 11.

Arviat is the only community in the territory with active cases.

Dr. Michael Patterson, the chief public health officer, said there are concerns that people are continuing to visit other people in houses that aren’t their own.

“These are choices that increase the risk and continue the spread of this infection,” he said.

The public health order that allows for the restrictions to be laid outlines who can enforce the rules, Patterson said.

But enforcement isn’t the only solution, he said.

“People face pressures and circumstances we don’t fully understand,” Patterson said.

These people need support, not enforcement, he said.

Isolation is a struggle, Patterson said. That can aggravate mental wellness, addiction, and frequency of intimate partner violence and child abuse.

The need to access food and other supplies also aggravates stress of isolation, Patterson said.

Friday’s increase in cases represents a major shift from the previous day, Dec. 10, when Nunavut reported zero new cases. However, it takes approximately 48 hours to get test results, which accounts for big differences in the number of infections announced from day-to-day.

Patterson said Nunavummiut should also continue to wear masks outside the home, practise physical distancing and wash their hands as often as possible.

The territory reported its first case on Nov. 6 in Sanikiluaq, but the caseload grew quickly with cases confirmed in Rankin Inlet, Arviat and Whale Cove.

Since then, Sanikiluaq, Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove have fallen to zero cases. The 56 remaining active cases are all in Arviat.

Today, a total of 245 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut, with 189 recoveries.

Most of Nunavut has emerged from under a GN-imposed lockdown that took effect on Nov. 18 and ended Dec. 2. Arviat is still subject to a strict lockdown.

Across Canada, more than 442,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported since March, when the pandemic began. More than 13,000 people have died of the disease. No deaths have been reported in Nunavut.

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(35) Comments:

  1. Posted by Come GN where are the fines! on

    It’s like nothing is happening in the covid capital of Nunavut. Less restrictions happening then the rest of our territory. We don’t have scavenger hunts in our non-covid infested places. The sell/swap FB site is like no problem let’s spread this virus through exchanging products like there is no covid!

    This community needs to smarten up already and the GN needs to start enforcing their laws and issuing fine for non-compliance with orders.

    • Posted by anonymous on

      Why isn’t the premier not enforcing the restrictions or for that matter, Mr. Patterson? This COVID-19 is serious, some readers may say ‘people are resilient’ -how resilient are they if cases in Arviat rise?

  2. Posted by Totally Amazed on

    There’s this strange juxtaposition that comes to mind when I see these almost daily articles about Arviat; that’s between the words of the Premier and MLA Main, trying to rally the community to come together and stop this…
    Then, there’s the appearance, at least from the outside, that the town is almost totally indifferent to slowing its spread.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      don’t be sarcastic, this sickness is invisible, and just a matter of time for it to reach maybe your community, remember it is started with one person a year ago from overseas, now the whole world is infested and many have died. any form of precautionary measures is not enough or fool proof. don’t feel invincible. just be supportive and be happy it has not reach you yet.

  3. Posted by Name withheld on

    Time to get the Military to intervene and enforce curfews Arviat, nothing is working for you guys right now.

    • Posted by No-Name on

      Strongly agree!!!!

      Those in Arviat who have not followed the public health measures do not deserve the medical resources.

    • Posted by boris pasternak on

      the military would be welcome to get this thing slowed down in arviat, ppl just don’t obey rules here; the junkies, the drunks, the gamblers, they just keep on going house to house from the rumors I hear. I don’t know if the orgs that were to enforce the curfew are doing their jobs late at night, the night-hawks cannot be contained to follow the curfew laws and are pursuing their addictions to wee hours from the looks of things. its a shame to be the community and Nunavut that is thing is on rampant here. I think it’s just a matter of time now before someone becomes a statistic because some ppl are not taking basic covid-19 rules seriously. For those of us 98+% who obey, this is a big sad blow to the community.

      • Posted by Consistency on

        By your comment regarding “rumors” I would guess that at max you have 2 people per bedroom in your house. there are so many people that are in over crowded houses. 10-12 people in a 2-3 bedroom house is not unusual. the age range is great from babies to elders often. so it would be hard to keep everyone inside all the time, when a few people get upset with each other (like families do) where are they to go to cool down? so people go out, but its cold so you go to a shack, but also others in other houses are in the same situation and they end up at the same shack. but you dont turn someone away in the cold.

        I hope Arviat can beat this soon but anger wont help anyone. saw this on facebook “We are all in the same storm(COVID), but have different sizes of boats(Houses and financial stability).”

    • Posted by StaySafe on

      In France and Italy, where there are lockdowns, people require permission to leave their properties. They are forcibly returned to their residences if they do not have permission and are fined.

  4. Posted by try harder on

    Soooo. This is not household spread. This IS community spread which means they are still visiting, still sharing smokes outside the local stores, still selling food and other items from their houses on sell-swap, still having community scavenger hunts.
    The rest of the territory is still under lots of restrictions because its in the territory. and these won’t ease until Arviat smartens up.
    A friend from there said they were awoken at 1:30am and there was a bunch of (5-7) kids playing street hockey on the street.
    We want to see fines issued NOW… come-on politicians do something.

    • Posted by eskimo joe on

      as said above, don’t be critical, just try your best to take precautions, it will reach you eventually. as I said above; it started with one man/woman and has taken the globe. i would start buying toilet paper and paper towels if I were you.

  5. Posted by Co-op on

    What is wrong with your co-op? encouraging people to get out of their homes to do a scavenger hunt!
    That is just wrong, I know you want those KIA coupons Co-op but think of the people first and take more seriously this pandemic!
    GN get the fines going so this does not happen again, smarten up!

  6. Posted by Good case study for Iqaluit on

    With so many people not doing their part and compliance is a big deal, My guess is not a single person has been fined because Public health hasn’t prepared to enforce its orders. Arviat is a good case study for larger centres in Nunavut. Can you imagine this was Iqaluit?

    • Posted by we are wathcing on

      This is right. The rest of the territory is watching this unfold and see that NOTHING is happening for enforcement.
      This is why over the Christmas holiday time you can guarantee that families are going to gather, groups are going to get together for parties (my extended/family has more than 30 people and we are planning to have Christmas dinner together). (we are not in a community with Covid). and people will whine but people that live in communities will still get together.

      • Posted by Part of the Problem on

        You’ve written nice words, but your choices show you to be part of the problem. Your family gathering is waaaaay over the allowed limited.

        This seems to be a glass houses/stones situation.

  7. Posted by That’s f’d up!!! on

    It really doesn’t help when the local co-op holds a scavenger hunt outside their store. C’mon gov’t why don’t you get in there and start ticketing those ppl? They need to understand that they are going to have some consequences if they continue doing stuff like that!!!

    Thank you to those community members who ARE listening to the rules. There are those of you who are.

  8. Posted by Old trapper on

    After u smoke

  9. Posted by No-Name on

    Anybody knows how many COVID-19 patients from Arviat have been medivacked to Winnipeg?


  10. Posted by Delbert on

    I have been quiet watching how things are going on here in Arviat. I don’t blame the people here in the Hamlet for how they are going forwards owith there lives. I do see we’re the government could do a better job at enforcing their protocols they are issuing to prevent them he spread of Covid. Words will not save lives only action like putting people on the ground to enforce the regulations. That will help stop the spread of this vinous.

    • Posted by Tom on

      It’s sad that for people to listen and to be accountable for their actions you have to have someone enforce it for you. Why do they not listen or think about their own actions? Why risk getting infected or passing on the virus to others?
      If only they would take responsibility for their actions, it’s simple, stay home, isolate for two weeks, the spread of the virus will stop and you will be Covid free like Rankin and Whale, instead of visiting having scavenger hunts. Smarten up!

    • Posted by This government is all words no action on

      On every issue…all talk no action. Using covid as an excusse every step of the way. None of the Ministers are educated. I miss Paul Okalik who had the guts to take action and the smarts to boot

  11. Posted by ground zero on

    Make matters possibly worse. The Kivalliq Inuit Association has select only one store to process a one time gift of $1500.00 to every household in Arviat-guess where all of 1000+residents can spend that gift? The coop store. There will be a mad dash to that store for a number of days….oh wait the President of KIA is a formal chairperson of that store.

  12. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    When this started in Canada I thought that Trudeau should have used the Emergencies Act to shut the country down, declare martial law for a limited time (6 weeks), shut the borders, only allow returning citizens into strict 14 day quarantine, and enforce everything with the armed forces, RCMP, provincial, and local police.
    If this had been done in early February the country could have been Covid-19 free by mid to late March. Take masks, social distancing, handwashing precautions while ramping up testing and tracing. Keep the borders closed except for returning citizens (one return only).
    We could have been where New Zealand is today. Too bad that our Prime Minister, and the majority of our Premiers, lack the fortitude to do what is necessary even if it is unpopular.
    When Arviat had its first cases I suggested bringing in the military to enforce quarantine. I was told that you can’t do that, and people will be responsible. Right.
    At the start of the pandemic the government was arranging flights to repatriate citizens. On a flight from Spain a young lady hid her symptoms until after the flight was airborne. She knew that she was sick and likely positive for coronavirus but she was “scared”. Moral of the story, some people will do what is best for them but may well get others killed. People are great at rationalizing their decisions.
    The only question left, will the Premier do like most of his counterparts, namely hope (and probably pray) that things will get better by themselves, or will he get serious before a lot of people end up dead?

    • Posted by Name Withheld on

      How come the Military can’t enforce the public health measures? The local government is failing, the next step up government should take over. Hamlet should declare a state of emergency if they haven’t already.

  13. Posted by Okay on

    Arviat strong! They are showing the world something. I am not sure what it is but what I think they are saying that all will be fine with them. There is something very significant happening in Arviat . In my country of birth, one of the poorest countries in the world, the people have been very resilient from COVID. No hospitalizations , no ventilators, not deaths. Those with precondition get much sicker, some very serious . But most are mild, and I am assuming a lot more that are non-symptomatic.

    • Posted by Not really okay on

      There have been hospitalizations and at least one person is on a ventilator that we know of, maybe more. Either way the more people get this the less likely it becomes that Arviat will show the world something amazing and special, as you put it.

      • Posted by Okay on

        Arviat strong! I love the strong will of Arviatmuits. I love the strong will of the people of poor countries. In North America, a disproportionate amount of Caribbean, blacks, and Philippines have been dying because these are the people who are caring for the sick and elderly.

    • Posted by Jim on

      To be Arviat strong you have to follow the protocols, distancing, isolating, masks and washing hands often. No visiting, no gatherings and definitely no games held by the stores.
      You can do it if you listen to the protocols.

  14. Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

    Might have to do community shaming for the careless few.

  15. Posted by Angugatsiak on

    The great isolation option would have been send them out on land for atleast 2 weeks as soon as 1 person got infected isolating in a cabin would have been the best option with someone looking after that person. A good cabin with some good food and stuff that needed, that way it would have not spread around. I hope everyone recover before christmas so we can have good christmas. Isolating in a well heated cabin would have been the best option as soon as 1 got it. Think hard GN.

  16. Posted by ARVIAT STROOOOOOOONG! on


  17. Posted by Observer on

    Why should taxpayers, yet again, foot an enormous bill to “rescue” a community in trouble?!!!
    If the residents if Arviat choose not to follow the advise of highly educated scientists, doctors, and their own elected officials, then let the community care for itself; remove health care personnel who are putting their lives on the line, freight personnel delivering food, who are putting their lives on the line, and RCMP who put their lives on the line every single day!
    Yes, this is multifaceted, and Yes, these behaviours may very well be from historical trauma, and Yes, if Inuit culture was truly incorporated in the community…this would be under control because those with the wisdom and understanding of the land would be respected , sadly they are not!
    And so, it is anticipated that the spread of Covid-19 will continue, and Inuit will die!

    Arviat… the world is watching….do right for Inuit, the generations to come, and support those with the daily pain that guides their poor decision making.

  18. Posted by just imagine on

    To some of the totally ignorant comments on this site and many others. Let’s think for a second about a few basic facts:

    1. Imagine what would happen in your community if Covid-19 was there for 14 days before anybody was aware.

    2. Imagine being a positive case and having no choice but to isolate in an overcrowded home with non-positive cases, what is most likely to happen???

    3 the vast majority of the new positive cases are linked back to #2

    The Community overall is doing an awesome job considering the facts above. Instead of kicking and slamming the great people of Arviat try to understand the real situation. At least 95% of Arviamiut are following all CPHO orders and guidelines, better than any typical community in Canada.

    I truly feel sad for the people kicking and slamming Arviamiut they obviously don’t understand the situation and the people. I hope and pray they do not have to go thru what Arviat is dealing with

    • Posted by Patrica on

      I get it and I think most of us do, I think where people are getting upset is with the ones that are not listening, it’s those 5-10% of the people and on top of that the Co-op trying to hold a scavenger hunt, that really does not hold well with a lot of people.

      We are hoping that the ones that are not taking this seriously will do now. We know you can do it, so many are doing the right thing and it’s so close to getting better. We believe in Arviat!

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