Rankin Inlet Mayor Harry Towtongie is quite proud of his community for the way it handled the first positive cases of Covid-19 in the community since the start of the pandemic.
But he’d like to see hamlet council have input into if and when restrictions are lifted if the scenario is ever repeated.
Towtongie said he’s impressed with how folks in Rankin followed all the rules of the recent lockdown and worked together to stop the spread of Covid, at least for now.
He said he wouldn’t mind having signs erected around the community reminding people that the community is not out of the woods with Covid yet, and to remain vigilant in following public health guidelines.
“We have to keep it up and, as a community, keep doing what we did in preventing future spread of this when it was active in the community,” said Towtongie.
“I know it’s tough, especially during this time of the year, but that means still going out around town and visiting friends and family members as little as possible.
“We were, kind of, looking at the restrictions being lifted around Dec. 10 for awhile there, and it was kind of a shock to the hamlet council that it got lifted when it did without too much warning.
“We didn’t get much of a head’s up on it, so we just have to deal with it. They’re the experts on all this and they’re trying to keep things going as normally as possible in the community, but I hope they’re not rushing it.”
Towtongie said Rankin’s municipal staff members were nothing short of amazing during the recent lockdown.
He said the hamlet workers were awesome in doing everything that they could to keep things going as smoothly as possible.
“They did their part on the volunteering side of things also, and they provided a lot of help to different projects we had on the go to help the community, like the delivery of food hampers to every household in the community.
“The community knows Covid is capable of making its way into Rankin now, and if it gets a bigger foothold the next time — if there is a next time — we know how very difficult it is to get rid of it.
“Maybe we had to see a bit of it to realize just how big of a headache it is to deal with once it’s here.
“It’s way better for us all to do our very best and keep it out of the community if we can. We got lucky it didn’t spread more than it did here and maybe part of that is because we have less overcrowding here than in Arviat, for example. ”
Towtongie said his message to the community right now is that he’s happy Rankin is now Covid free but the hard part is to keep it away.
He said everyone has to resist the urge to let their guard down and keep taking the necessary precautions to keep Covid out of Rankin.
“This virus is scary, so everyone has to keep up with the cleanliness, the mask wearing, the physical distancing and everything else we’ve been doing during the lockdown and before.”
Towtongie said he feels hamlet council should have had more of a voice in the decision making to lift the lockdown restrictions.
He said council should also have some input in putting together the information that’s going out to the community.
“That might help us and it might just help them a bit, as well.
“Don’t get me wrong. The Government of Nunavut is doing a good job. They’re doing as well as could be expected and then some.
“We just have to be thankful for now and keep up the good work that’s been keeping this Covid from spreading and getting worse in our community.
“We won this battle but we’re still at war against this virus.”