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Red Cross to arrive in Arviat soon; communities with cases will see continued public health measures

During Friday’s update on Covid-19 in Nunavut, the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) Dr. Michael Patterson, announced that the Red Cross will be arriving in Arviat soon.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's CPHO speaks during a Government of Nunavut Covid-19 update in the Legislature. Photo by Trevor Wright.

The Red Cross team will be providing additional resources and support to public health authorities with a focus on infection prevention and control.

They will be landing in the hamlet this weekend said the CPHO.

The team will be helping provide help with assessments, training and protocol review, which Nunavut’s CPHO Dr. Michael Patterson says will enhance practice to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“The members of this team will work well respecting our current public health restrictions. They will also follow all exempted worker protocols by wearing masks in public and in workplace settings and isolating while not at work,” Patterson said.

He adds that it will still take a while to know for sure whether or not community transmission in Arviat has stopped. The acceptance of assistance from the Red Cross was an opportunity to get more help in combating Covid-19.

“It’s better to be over-aggressive with this so we can get it under control quicker,” said Patterson.

“So when the opportunity came to take advantage of this offer of assistance came up we weren't gonna say no.”

A liaison officer from the Public Health Agency of Canada has also arrived in Iqaluit to help with Nunavut’s request for support from the federal government for the next two weeks.

“This will help streamline requests for support from the federal government and provide additional assistance on the ground,” Patterson said.

With the end of Nunavut’s two-week lockdown coming soon on Dec. 2, some communities particularly in Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet and Arviat will still see community restrictions to limit the spread of Covid-19 for some time after.

Communities with identified community transmission, which only includes Arviat right now, will continue to see increased public health measures, while some measures in the other two communities will present but not as strict.

“For communities that have transmission only within households or known links there will be some increased measures but they won’t be as strict,” said Patterson.

Of the rest of the communities in Nunavut which don’t have cases of Covid-19, they will see a reopening like that seen in the summer.

“For the rest of the communities it’ll probably be closer to June or July, businesses will be open but gathering sizes will be limited,” he added.