COVID-19 GN Update - May 1, 2020

May 01, 2020

Premier’s update:

Good afternoon. There is still one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

Today, the total number of people under investigation to date is 602. 196 people are currently under investigation and 406 people are no longer under investigation.

The rapid response team has been in Pond Inlet since yesterday, and they are working tirelessly with health staff in the community to trace this case, work to manage the situation and care for the individual and restrict/slow the spread of COVID-19.

As you may have heard, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly cancelled the Spring sitting earlier today. More information about how scheduled house business will proceed will be available from the Legislative Assembly.

Beginning May 7, any Nunavut resident who has voluntarily left the territory and wants to return will need to pay for their 14-day isolation stay. Medical travel patients will continue to be covered and are not expected to pay.

Please remember that we have advised against any non-essential travel outside the territory since mid-March. Starting next week, the cost to stay in an isolation hub will be the responsibility of those who have chosen to travel outside Nunavut, despite these recommendations from the CPHO.

The fee for a single individual in a room is $2,100 for the 14-day period, and each additional family member in the room will pay $1,050. Those fees will need to be paid in advance of arriving into the isolation hub.

We do not know when Nunavut’s travel restrictions will be loosened, and so we cannot advise when isolation will no longer be mandatory. Anyone who chooses to leave Nunavut needs to be mindful of this.

More details about this change will be forthcoming and outlined for travellers when they apply to re-enter the territory.

In closing today, I ask Nunavummiut to please not speculate on the individual(s) with COVID-19, or the circumstances of how the virus came into the community. I’m seeing a lot of misinformation, mistruth, and negativity on social media about this. Most of what is presenting are not facts. The facts of COVID-19 in Nunavut are presented here at our updates, regularly by Dr. Patterson, and are online on our website.

If you are contributing to misinformation, or trying to place blame, please stop immediately. To those who are asking for and pushing positivity and kindness, thank you.

Not only do we all have a community responsibility to keep one another safe with physical distancing, handwashing and staying home, but we all have a duty to keep each other safe from bullying, rumours and lateral violence.

Nunavummiut, let’s spread truth, good information and facts from the experts. The public health workers who have been keeping us safe and who have worked tirelessly to respond to COVID-19 in Nunavut deserve our respect and thanks. To make assumptions and misrepresent information is disrespectful to the work they do each and every day.

Let’s please stay positive, stay vigilant and stay well. And stay home, to save lives.

 

Chief Public Health Officer update

I’d like to give an update on the current status in Pond Inlet:

  • The patient is isolated, and still doing well.
  • The Rapid Response Team is in the community, and they are implementing containment and contact tracing.
  • As the team completes additional testing, there is the possibility that more positive cases may be confirmed in the community. This does not necessarily mean that there is community transmission and should not be cause for alarm. What this does mean is that the Rapid Response Team is doing their job, which is finding the virus and stopping it from spreading.
  • Containment is key, and right now it is our top priority.
  • As this process takes place, the Government of Nunavut will continue to support the community of Pond Inlet.

I also want to take a moment and thank the municipality of Pond Inlet and its residents for allowing me to answer their questions earlier today on the community radio.

Moving forward, I would like to remind all Nunavummiut, using the strongest possible terms, that every single social interaction carries a degree of risk. Despite all of the Government of Nunavut’s preventative measures, and the new containment measures now in place within Pond Inlet, it is impossible to reasonably predict where or when COVID-19 may be detected next.

I urge all Nunavummiut to exercise a high degree of caution, and to seriously consider these risks before participating in a gathering of any kind. If you deem it necessary to participate in gatherings, then please keep track of the people with whom you interact, as this information may be necessary in case contact tracing needs to be conducted in your community.

Health staff cannot get us through this alone. How well we do, and where we go from here, depends on the actions of every single Nunavummiut. Right now, the best way of slowing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be through social distancing and effective hygiene.

If everyone follows these rules together, we can put ourselves in the best position to make it through this uncertain time. It’s more important than ever that we be careful, responsible, kind, and supportive.

I’d like to thank Nunavummiut for their continued cooperation and understanding.

As part of the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) effort to protect Nunavummiut against the risk of COVID-19, GN Departments are implementing the following:

Travel outside the territory as of May 7, 2020

  • Starting May 7, 2020, Nunavummiut who chose to travel outside Nunavut while the CPHO’s travel ban is still in effect will have to cover the costs of their 14-day isolation period in one of the Government of Nunavut’s isolation sites.
  • The fee for a single individual in a room is $2,100 for the 14-day period, and each additional family member in the room will pay $1,050.
  • Updates will be provided as they become available.

     

Department of Health Services

COVID Hotline and Self-Assessment Tool

Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.

Anyone with access to internet can also take the online self-assessment tool nu.thrive.health

Travelers

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of May 1

Medical Travel

187

Public

125

Total

312

 

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date

# of Travellers from Isolation Sites

May 1

19

May 2

7

May 3

14

May 4

56

May 5

14

 

Critical Worker Requests

As of April 30, there are 821 requests, 626 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status

#

%

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

675

82.1%

Denied

100

12.2%

Pending

47

5.7%

Total

821

100%

 

Ongoing services:

Access to health care services will remain available in all communities seven days a week. All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily. Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services are and will continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All clients are asked to call before presenting at a health facility.

  • In Iqaluit, public health, the emergency room and inpatient unit will remain open.
  • Well baby clinics, prenatal visits and immunizations are continuing across Nunavut.
  • Physicians will continue community visits. If this is not possible, the visits will be conducted by telehealth or by phone.

Adjusted services:

No visitors allowed at Qikiqtani General Hospital, except for one visitor for maternity or palliative patients and escorts for minors.

Appointments at health facilities are being triaged; this means the appointment may be over the phone or in person.

Medical travel services have been reduced to urgent medical travel only. Clients will be advised of these changes and involved in discussions.

In Iqaluit, outpatient clinics and rehab are triaging all appointments and conducting appointments. Lab and Diagnostic Imaging services at QGH are on reduced services. All upcoming appointments are being triaged.

MHA has moved to telephone check-in and support for some clients. Scheduled appointments for medication pick up and administration remain the same. If you are in crisis, present to the health centre. Home visits to administer medications will be treated on a case by case basis.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

Only emergency dental services will be provided in until further notice.

Specialty clinics have been cancelled. Work is underway to determine which clients can be seen by phone/virtual care.

All non-essential travel for mental health clients and families are cancelled. All non-essential travel for families visiting clients in care is cancelled.

No visitors will be allowed at long term care facilities in Nunavut – Continuing Care Centres (CCCs) and Elders’ Homes.

 

Department of Justice Services

Community Justice

Our service delivery with clients remains consistent with the previously amended service delivery process. In-person meetings are restricted to emergency situations where the client has no access to a phone or safe location to contact our service providers over the phone. Individuals are asked to contact the on-call Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA) line if they have any questions or need support using the following number 1-844-534-1038. The call will be assessed to determine the support needed and directed to a Community Justice Specialist who can help with applications and resource referrals.

Community Corrections

All local community corrections offices continue to be closed to the public until further notice. All community corrections clients are to report by phone to their Regional Managers.

The list of contacts can be found at: https://www.gov.nu.ca/justice

 

Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services

1,285 non-medical masks have been shipped to Pond Inlet to assist with the GN’s rapid response to the confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.

The shipment included instructions on the use of the masks – in Nunavut’s official languages.

Masks distribution to essential services staff, first responders, elders, people with health conditions and the public-at-large will be coordinated through the Municipality of Pond Inlet.

In-territory production and distribution capacity has grown to between 2,000 and 3,000 non-medical masks per week.

A total of 20 seamstresses are involved in the project, with additional seamstresses being contracted this week as production is expanded to Rankin Inlet, Taloyoak and Pangnirtung (via Nunavut Development Corporation subsidiaries).

The GN has developed a ‘how to use a mask’ guide, as well as “how to wear a mask guide”. Both are available on the GN website in all official languages at https://gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

 

Nunavummiut’s health is our shared responsibility! Remember: wash your hands and surfaces, practice social distancing, listen to the advice of health officials, and stay home if you’re sick.