COVID-19 GN Update - November 18, 2020

November 18, 2020

COVID-19 GN Update - November 18, 2020

Premier’s update

Good morning. As of today, Nunavut has a total of 70 cases of COVID-19. There are eight new cases today in Arviat and two new cases in Rankin Inlet. The total number of persons followed to date is 4141. There are 785 persons currently being followed.

Sadly, the spread of COVID-19 is normal; transmission will happen. Our rise in cases over the past couple days is significant and seems scary, but we did know they would rise once the virus was here in-territory. Now, it’s important we plank these numbers, and focus on what we need to do, to make that happen.

Today, Nunavut enters its two-week lockdown. This is it folks, it’s time to take a stand in fighting COVID-19.

We need you all to make sacrifices now, to make sure you protect our communities.

This means :

  • Don’t visit outside your household.
  • Don’t gather or socialize.
  • Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.
  • If you go out to do errands or run to the store, go alone if you can and wear a mask. Keep distance from others.
  • Work or learn from home unless you’re considered essential.
  • It means stay home and give us a change to manage, contain and limit the spread of the virus in Nunavut.
  • As always, wash your hands, cough into your elbow, clean surfaces regularly.

I know this will be hard, so I’m asking that you reach out if you’re struggling. To friends, to family, to loved ones and beyond if you need to. I’ve posted toll-free numbers and resources on my social media about how to get help if you need it.

Two weeks. We have an opportunity to turn this around in two weeks. If we don’t stick to these measures, it will be longer; possibly much longer.

Elders can’t have visitors. Kids can’t be at school. Front line workers are working around the clock. Nunavummiut, don’t make this lockdown be for nothing. It’s up to each one of us. Do your part so slow the spread of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

Stay Well. Stay Safe. Stay Home.

 

Chief Public Health Officer update

As of today, Nunavut has a total of 70 cases of COVID-19. Eight new cases have been confirmed in Arviat, bringing the community total to 54. There were two new cases in Rankin Inlet bringing the community total to six.

Our Rapid Response Teams, who I must commend for their hard work and dedication to their task, are working to test, trace and contain the virus in all communities impacted.  

To date, there have been 114 negative tests in Arviat, 60 negative tests in Rankin Inlet. 103 in Sanikiluaq and five negatives in Whale Cove. Contact tracing and testing is ongoing.

While the increase in cases is concerning, given the nature of this virus and how quickly it spreads from person to person, an increase in cases is to be expected.  Being able to quickly identify new cases also demonstrates the effort our public health and rapid response teams are putting in and the effectiveness of contact tracing. Keep in mind that it will take at least two weeks from today before we know if our public health measures and isolation protocols have been effective. 

How effective we are in containing the current outbreak is in large part dependent on the cooperation of all Nunavummiut. Today, I am asking everyone to do their part in helping to contain the virus. We have repeated many times the need to follow the public health measures, but I want people to understand in simple terms what that means.  

It means don’t go visiting. Right now, the best thing to do is stay home and keep your social contacts limited to the people who live in your home. 

If you have symptoms, report them immediately. Don’t go to the health centre, call the hotline and, again, stay home unless directed otherwise by health staff.  

We recommend wearing a mask everywhere, but you must wear a mask if you live in a community with active cases of COVID-19.  

Also, please cooperate with the people who are contact tracing. Accurate information is the best way to track the virus.  

Today, new orders came into effect territory wide. These orders are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in communities with active cases and protect the other communities from the virus. 

The orders make masks mandatory in any community where there are active cases of COVID-19.  

We have restricted outdoor gatherings to five people and physical distancing must be maintained in all public spaces. Indoor gatherings are restricted to five people plus those living in the home, but we strongly recommend there be no visiting in homes.

Under the orders all non-essential work must stop. We have received a lot of questions asking what that means. In essence, if you closed back in March, you should be closed again. 

Businesses and cab drivers are wondering about masks in communities that are not affected by COVID-19. While masks are not mandatory in other communities, they are recommended, and businesses have the authority to require makes for their patrons and staff.

Last week, I stated that daycares in Nunavut could stay open for essential workers. To clarify, this is not an order. If operators feel safer closing, that is up to them, but my hope is some will stay open to help our critical staff without childcare do their jobs. 

Finally, please be kind to each other, the spread of the virus wasn’t done intentionally and blaming individuals or communities will not help us resolve this situation any faster.  

Thank you.

 

 

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:

Department of Health Services

Adjusted services (territory wide)

  • Mental health Clients are given the option to speak to a counsellor on the phone
  • When it is an emergency the clients can go to the health centre/QGH to be seen by a counsellor or Mental Health nurse
  • Clients continue to be assessed by a psychiatrist via telehealth
  • Clients are contacted at home if the counsellors or mental health nurses have not had contact with them recently
  • In the community: Outreach workers and clinicians connect with clients via radio and radio scripts
  • Outreach workers create packages to be delivered to client homes with activities inside for relaxation etc.
  • Clients can continue to utilize services in the south for treatment or residential care with support, if the facility is accepting clients.

NU COVID-19 Statistics Nov. 18

Community

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

 (yesterday)                                     

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases (today) Change in case count (+/-) from previous day
Arviat 46 54 8
Whale Cove 8 8 0
Rankin Inlet 4 6 2
Sanikiluaq 2 2 0
TOTAL  60 70 10

Testing stats to date: Nov. 18

Community Test positive Tests negative
Arviat 54 114
Whale Cove 8 5
Rankin Inlet 6 60
Sanikiluaq 2 103
Total 70 282

Isolation:

Total (All Health Isolation Locations)  
Traveler Type Guests in Isolation as of Nov. 18
Medical 370
Public 196
Total 566

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date # of Travellers from health Isolation Sites
18-Nov 102
19-Nov 58
20-Nov 33
21-Nov 5
22-Nov 4
Total 202

Critical Worker Requests

As of Nov.17 there were 8905 requests, 4151 of which were critical worker requests.

Request Status # %
Approved (includes critical and non-critical) 5981 67.2%
Denied 281 3.2%
Pending 203 2.3%
Common Travel Area Approved  2440 27.4%
Total 8905 100%

Common Travel Area

The NWT/Nunavut Common Travel Area has been suspended until further notice.

As of November 17, 2020, all Nunavut travellers to the NWT must follow the self-isolation measures set by the GNWT. For more information, travellers can contact Protect NWT at 8-1-1 or 1-833-378-8297.

As per the Chief Public Health Officer of Nunavut direction, all Nunavummiut who travelled from Nunavut to the NWT, before the suspension of the common travel area, can return to Nunavut without completing a 14 days isolation period:

  • Nunavummiut already in the NWT who wish to return to Nunavut earlier than their scheduled return date, must complete an new Common Area Traveller’s Declaration form and send it to cphotravelrequests@gov.nu.ca. They also must wear masks in public spaces and observe physical distancing for the duration of their return trip.
  • Nunavummiut who enter the NWT on exemption to live, work, study or for compassionate reasons and wish to return to Nunavut must also complete a Common Area Traveller’s Declaration form and send it to cphotravelrequests@gov.nu.ca.
  • Nunavummiut already in the NWT, who wish to remain in the NWT for their entire scheduled trip, will be subject to the GNWT’s public health measures. For more information contact Protect NWT at 8-1-1 or 1-833-378-8297.

 

Department of Education Services

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

Early Learning and Child Care

  • As of Wednesday, November 18, 2020, all Nunavut child care facilities will be closed.
  • Some child care facilities may voluntarily remain open to provide child care for the children of essential workers.

 

Department of Justice Services

What do I do if I am concerned the Orders are not being followed?

Your local RCMP detachment can help and should be used as your first point of contact. If you are concerned, please contact your local RCMP detachment.

As we move forward, we will continue to monitor, review and amend these orders as necessary. Our measures will be balanced against the need to fight Covid-19. When we are no longer living under threat of this virus, we will no longer be in need of such measures.

Who can enforce these Orders?

In addition to RCMP officers, and to ensure we have the capacity to enforce the emergency orders, the CPHO has authorized all peace officers who are appointed under territorial law, the ability to enforce the orders. This includes municipal enforcement officers, the sheriffs from the Nunavut Court of Justice, the environmental inspectors, liquor inspectors, and the wildlife officers.

Normally these officers can only enforce their own legislation. However, the emergency order grants them additional powers. To ensure those charged with protecting the health of Nunavummiut are prepared to take on this task, they will be provided with clear guidelines on their responsibility.

The CPHO authorized these peace officers for a number of reasons:

  • The RCMP may experience staff shortages during the pandemic and may need not be able to address this added responsibility;
  • The authorized peace officers are already familiar with and have had training in enforcement procedures under territorial legislation;
  • The orders affect entry into territorial parks and other on-the-land activities, where wildlife officers are often the first point of contact; and
  • Municipal enforcement officers are experienced with issuing tickets under municipal by-laws and are recognized as an enforcement body within Nunavut communities.

The CPHO is working with officials from the RCMP, the Government of Nunavut and municipalities to ensure consistent messaging and enforcement across the territory.

When can an enforcement officer enter into my home or public facility?

In the Orders being issues by the CPHO, there is a clear distinction between a building where you live, a “dwelling”, and a public facility, such as a grocery store.

Under these Orders, the CPHO has provided enforcement Officers with the authority to enter into public facilities without a warrant for enforcement purposes. This includes vacant houses and apartments.

When it comes to your home, however, the government firmly recognizes your rights and the obligation of enforcement officers to take all reasonable measures to respect those rights. Except in emergencies, if an enforcement officer believes there is reason to enter into your home, they will need to get your permission, or get a warrant from the Court.

 

Department of Finance Services

Employee Pay Information – November 27, 2020

  • All GN employees will continue to be paid as scheduled, including payment of Continuous Service Bonus to eligible employees. There may be delays in processing non-standard pay such as overtime and acting pay. Indeterminate employees will receive regular salary, while casual and relief employees will be paid in accordance with submitted timesheets.
  • For those employees who receive cheques, we will try to have them in your community as usual. We encourage you to utilize electronic banking options to ensure you receive your pay on payday. For those who receive direct deposit, paystubs will be issued at a later date.
  • For more information, please contact Tracey Moyles, Director of Compensation and Benefits at tmoyles@gov.nu.ca.

Direct Deposit and Electronic Pay for Employees

  • Due to the changing nature of COVID-19, it is difficult for the Department of Finance to ensure that employees who receive their pay by cheque will get them on payday. We encourage all employees who receive a physical cheque to consider direct deposit or electronic options to receive pay.
  • Some communities have commercial banking operations through CIBC and RBC. WE Financial through Northmart also offers a Visa card where we can deposit your pay. Once you set up electronic banking, please provide the information to your Compensation and Benefit officer and include Tracey Moyles at Tmoyles@gov.nu.ca in the email.
  • To ensure that all GN employees get their pay on time, we strongly encourage all employees to consider electronic banking options.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Tracey Moyles at tmoyles@gov.nu.ca or 867-975-6870.

Iqaluit NULC Store

At this time, the Iqaluit NULC store is continuing to operate. The store hours are as follows:

  • Sunday – Closed.
  • Monday – 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (customers aged 60+ only).
  • Tuesday – Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday – Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Friday – Noon to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday – Noon to 7 p.m.

To reduce and prevent the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, the NULC has implemented social distancing measures in the store.

For staff and public safety, the NULC will be limiting the number of customers allowed in the store at a time.

Customers are requested to stand at least two meters apart while waiting in line outside the store.

Starting November 17, 2020, the store will not be accepting cash. Debit card and credit card (including prepaid credit cards) will still be accepted.

Prepaid credit cards are available for sale at various banks, Northmart and Canada Post. You can load money directly onto the card and use it for purchases.

Liquor Permits

Liquor permits will continue to be sold in Nunavut.

  • In Iqaluit, you can drop by the NULC store on Monday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday to Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. ET or call 867-975-6869.
  • In Rankin Inlet, you can call 867-645-8575 or 855-844-5488 on Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. CT.
  • In Cambridge Bay, you can call 867-983-4048 on Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. MT.
  • For Kugluktuk residents, please call 867-982-6509 or email water@kugluktuk.ca. Please note that the Kugluktuk office will only process permits from within the community.
  • For liquor permits in all communities, please call the Rankin Inlet office at 867-645-8575 or 855-844-5488 on Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. CT.

Community liquor orders

For community liquor orders, please call the Rankin Inlet office at 867-645-8575 or 855-844-5488.

Vendor Payments and Invoices

Providing timely payments to our vendors remains a priority. All Government of Nunavut (GN) departments will continue to receive, process and pay vendor invoices. If you have a question regarding specific invoices, please contact the appropriate departments with the contact numbers below.

Departmental contact information

For payment of GN invoices, the Department of Finance is only accepting invoice payments through mailed cheques, internet banking or credit card. For credit card payments, please call the following numbers:

  • Iqaluit: 867-975-5808
  • Rankin Inlet: 867-645-8517
  • Cambridge Bay: 867-983-4043

During this time, please expect some delays as there is reduced staff in the office. Thank you for your patience.

Vendor payments update

The Government of Nunavut (GN) recognizes the difficulties businesses and service providers are experiencing due to COVID-19. To help Nunavummiut have access to improved cash flow, the GN will continue to waive the normal 20 and 30-calendar-day payment terms. Vendor payments, once processed by departments, will be issued on the next available cheque run for each region.

Taxation

Taxes can be paid from the following options:

  • Via phone by calling toll-free number 1-800-316-3324;
  • Via mail to P.O. Box 2260, Stn 300, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0;
  • On-line through arrangements with financial institutions.

For tax inquiries, please email the following addresses:

During this time, please expect some delays as there is reduced staff in the office. Thank you for your patience.

 

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.