Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. is proud of how the people in Arviat have handled the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in their community, and especially proud of the performance his hamlet staff workers have put in during the outbreak.
These have been trying times for the hamlet, considering Arviat has been one of the hardest hit communities per capita in the entire country.
Savikataaq said the people of Arviat have been the true leaders during this situation and everyone has been remaining calm.
He said the hamlet has been continually sending out positive messages to the public and they have been well received.
“It’s the people who are actually doing all the work and being the heroes through all this,” said Savikataaq.
“Our municipal workers are being given a free breakfast every morning to let them know they are appreciated, because they are more vital than ever right now for delivering all the water and taking away all the sewage with us telling everyone that they have to wash more often.
“So, in order for us to be able say that, we have to deliver more often, and it’s being shown to us that it’s working and people are washing more often now in Arviat because we’re pumping more water now than normal.”
Savikataaq said his municipal workers have been nothing short of amazing during the outbreak.
He said they put everything else aside to make sure the community’s needs are being met, and that everything is being delivered on time and in a safe manner.
“We’re being very cautious and very safety minded with everything we do.
“At any given moment, we have six water trucks and six sewage trucks on the road. They work about 14 hours a day with a shift change during the day.
“Before each shift change, we have a guy who sanitizes everything in the truck, right from the hose and nozzle to the door knobs, steering wheel and gearshift — everything is left very clean and sanitized for the next driver.”
Savikataaq said there is some fear in Arviat but, with the hamlet’s positive messaging and keeping people calm, they’ve managed to mitigate the vast majority of it.
He said fear is just as dangerous as the virus itself, so they’re doing everything they can to keep people calm.
“We’ve been lucky so far in that the vast majority of our municipal workers have been showing up for work every day. They know how important their services are to the public.
“When the virus first hit, there were some who had to isolate, but we’re over that now.”
Savikataaq said he feels that the worst is over now in Arviat.
He said everyone is doing their part by following the health orders and every day is getting better in the community.
“The numbers are fluctuating but they’re in a steady decline.
“We’re happy for the people in Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet for having their outbreaks under control, but you can’t really compare the Covid-19 outbreaks in those communities to what we’ve been dealing with in Arviat.
“As of Nov. 30, Arviat had 53 recoveries. If you combine the total of Rankin and Whale Cove, they’re nowhere near close to that but, yes, they seem to have stopped the virus.
“It’s a lot easier to put out a campfire than it is a house fire.”
Savikataaq said the hamlet plans to continue what it’s been doing up to this point in its fight against the virus, and that includes the delivery of food hampers that have been helping to keep everyone’s spirits high.
He said that’s really helped keep the stress levels down for many families, knowing that their kids won’t be going hungry.
“As you know, there hasn’t been any visiting at all in our community for awhile now and that’s been really hard on many people.
“In less than two weeks time, before Christmas, we hope to have delivered to each house what’s basically a mental-health kit for kids and adults to help keep them busy and occupied.
“The people of Arviat are amazing and everyone is doing their part. It’s the people leading the way in fighting this war, which we are winning battle by battle.
“I’d like to thank the people of Arviat for all their hard work. It is not going unnoticed.
“And I’d like to thank everyone, no matter where on this planet they happen to be, for thinking about and praying for Arviat.”