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Rankin Inlet rallies defences as COVID-19 looms

The Hamlet of Rankin Inlet began calmly solidifying its defences in preparation for the arrival of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Fire Chief and emergency-response contact person for the community of Rankin Inlet, Mark Wyatt, will report any developments concerning the coronavirus back to hamlet council.
Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Rankin Coun. Kelly Clark-Lindell was one of many community, regional, territorial, health, industry and law enforcement officials who took part in a conference call to discuss the health threat.

Clark-Lindell said the pandemic plan in Rankin was put in place when H1N1 came through years ago, so there are some things they’re working closely on with the local health centre.

Fire Chief Mark Wyatt – the emergency-response contact person for the hamlet – is working with all hamlet partners and will report developments back to council as they occur.

She said the call mainly focused on what Rankin was doing to be ready, and what preventative measures are in place for the COVID-19 virus.

We’re mostly working on things we hope we won’t ever need to put in place, but, the drop-in centre has been allocated for a screening area so people don’t actually enter our health centre if they feel like they need to be screened for the virus,” said Clark-Lindell.

Also, options are being looked at for a quarantine space if, and when, that becomes necessary.

We all know there’s a lot of overcrowded houses, so, if we run into situations where we have to quarantine people who have the virus, then separate locations may need to be setup.

We also received updates on what AEM was doing, and all the preventative measures people can be taking from the chief medical officer.”

Clark-Lindell said she knows people are being told to wash their hands from almost every direction, but that’s because it’s so important to do so.

She said it’s also important to maintain social distancing, not go outside if you don’t have to and isolate yourself for 14 days if you air travel anywhere in Canada.

The issue we’re going to have if it does hit Rankin – with a lot of people all getting sick at the same time – is the stress that’s going to put on our medical staff and the infrastructure we have in place.

So, we’ll be trying to keep it at a minimum as much as we can.

They’re testing already but, to date, none of the results that have come back to Rankin were positive.”

Clark-Lindell said the conference call attracted: Rankin’s two MLAs; other local politicians, numerous representatives from the Kivalliq Inuit Association; the local health centre; Arctic College, Agnico Eagle Mines, various territorial departments, the RCMP, Keewatin Air, Nunavut Chief Medical Officer Michael Patterson, Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce president Patrick Tagoona and others.