Cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in Nunavut despite lockdown


Cases of COVID-19 have been steadily climbing in Nunavut since right before Christmas.

The surge is a concern for territorial officials who worry it’s happening despite a lockdown.

“Nunavut now has 244 active cases of COVID-19 in 12 of Nunavut’s 25 communities,” said Premier PJ Akeeagok.

“Forty-eight in Arviat, one in Baker Lake, one in Cambridge Bay, two in Chesterfield Inlet, 17 in Igloolik, 72 here in Iqaluit, 23 in Kinngait, 19 in Pangnirtug, one in Pond Inlet, five in Qikiqtarjuaq, 45 in Rankin Inlet and 10 in Sanirayuk.”

Officials also announced they will no longer test individuals in communities that already have cases of COVID-19.

Serious conditions

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said “something had to give” to keep lab staff working on blood tests for other serious conditions, in addition to COVID-19.

Only essential government offices remain open.

But the premier made a special appeal to daycare workers.

“We need you more than ever before,” he told a news conference Thursday. “I am asking that you reopen your doors to help our critica services operate.

“Our healthcare workers, store employees, water and waste management workers must go above and beyond to help our territory during the severe wave of COVID-19.  Many of these critical services are now close to the breaking point; staff are exhausted balancing work and childcare, which is unsustainable for many.”

The officials also warned that the healthcare system was near the breaking point.

Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.