Pangnirtung saw its first two cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson, reducing Nunavut from zero active cases to two.
Patterson urged people to get vaccinated, avoid unnecessary travel, wear masks and keep social circles restricted during the holidays to prevent further spread.
Prime Minister PJ Akeeagok doubled down on the message at a press conference on Tuesday.
“I know many of us were hoping for a more normal Christmas … As anyone who knows me knows how much I love the holiday season, especially Christmas games. But I won’t participate in any games.” , said the Prime Minister. .
“Now is not the time to let our guard down. We are seeing an increase in Omicron cases across the country and the statistics are alarming.”
Akeeagok said the best gift Nunavummiut can give themselves is good health.
Public health expects confirmation of positive test results in Pangnirtung later Tuesday, but new restrictions in the community take effect immediately, including restricting movement within and outside the community to essential cases only.
âIt is highly unlikely that these are false positive results and we must act on them,â Patterson said.
âAt this time, we don’t know which variant it is, but in light of the Omicron threat, we are tightening public health measures in the community to limit the possible spread to other communities. will know the variant strain in about a week. “
Patterson said the Territory introduced new restrictions to Pangnirtung due to the Omicron’s increased transmissibility compared to other variants.
âOmicron can spread very quickly even among those who have received two doses of the vaccine,â he said, adding that people who have not had their booster should arrange a booster dose.
If cases are detected in other communities in Nunavut, it is likely that health authorities will introduce similar travel restrictions.
In Pangnirtung, the following restrictions are now in effect:
- Only essential travel within and outside the community is permitted.
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.
- Indoor gatherings in accommodation are limited to 10 people, plus household members.
- Indoor public gatherings are limited to 25 people or 50% of their capacity.
- Gyms and fitness centers are limited to 25 people or 50% of their capacity
the lesser of the two, for solo workouts only.
- Places of worship are limited to 50 people or 25% of their capacity, without
- Arenas are limited to 50 people or 50% of their capacity, whichever is less, plus
- Restaurants are limited to 25 percent of their capacity. No karaoke, dancing or live
- Group counseling sessions are limited to 10 people.
- The parks remain open but the buildings on site must close.
Schools can open under these restrictions when classes resume after the holidays.
Health service cuts ahead, Main says
Health Minister John Main said Nunavut’s healthcare resources are “stretched” despite the government’s work to recruit healthcare workers.
Some health centers will have emergency services only during the holidays and some communities will deploy vaccines in limited quantities, he said. Vaccinations will resume in 2022 in all communities that experience disruption during the holidays.
Main linked the staffing issues to those across the country.
âI ask Nunavummiut to do their part to stay safe from COVID-19 while on vacation,â he said.
Main also said that he and all Nunavummiut are grateful to the health care workers in the territory, who had little free time and could work during the holidays.
He thanked them “for their sacrifice and dedication to the care of Nunavummiut”.
âIt’s amazing,â he said.
What to do if you have symptoms
Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or notify their community health center by phone.
Please do not come to the health center in person.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for all Nunavummiut aged 5 and over and booster shots are available for anyone 12 and over. Contact your health center to make an appointment.