An Iqaluit daycare has been closed due to an on-site exposure to Covid-19, announced the Government of Nunavut during an update on Jan. 20. Testing and contact tracing is taking place for close contacts.

The GN is also initiating a final round of supports for Nunavummiut with $625,000 being rolled out to all 25 hunters and trappers associations across the territory. This will be used to support harvesters in providing country food to their communities. Each hunters and trappers association will be getting $25,000, the funds can be used for fuel, ammunition and supplies for community hunts or to buy and bring in country food from other communities.

“All we ask the HTOs, is they distribute the country foods in the communities,” said David Akeeagok, Nunavut’s environment minister.

Nunavut has 175 confirmed active cases of Covid-19 with active cases in 19 communities. With a rise in cases in Baker Lake schools have moved to half capacity when they open next week. Moving forward each community will be assessed on a weekly basis and when appropriate schools will lower capacity for one to two weeks.

The number of hospitalizations due to Covid-19 remain at 10. Additional rapid testing kits are expected to arrive to Nunavut on Jan. 25.

“We are hoping to break those down and disperse those to the frontline workers, businesses, as well as the municipalities,” said Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said the person who passed away Monday night due to Covid-19 was over 70 years old and not fully vaccinated.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam recently said the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to end in an endemic form of the virus. But until then, we can’t let our guard down, said Patterson.

“It’s accurate to say that it’s going to be with us forever. We’re not going to be able to get rid of it, but beyond that and when that’s going to happen is really hard to predict right now,” said Patterson.

Vaccine mandates and getting vaccinated

With various communities facing decreased health services over the holidays and some Nunavummiut being unable to get vaccinated, the Department of Health is organizing various mass vaccination clinics across the territory to catch up.

“Starting next week you should see our plans rolling our across Nunavut,” said John Main, Nunavut’s health minister.

One of those first clinics will be taking place at Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School on Jan. 22.

Main also praised the vaccine mandates implemented by the municipalities of Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit. He also urged Nunavummiut to talk to their unvaccinated family members about getting vaccinated.

“By now you’ve all heard the experts, like Dr. Patterson. You’ve seen them urge people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Ask yourself, why do our experts keep repeating it? They share and they repeat this message because it’s true. I’m concerned too many Nunavummiut are not vaccinated or are only partially vaccinated,” said Main.

“Help them access reliable information, help them book an appointment. Opinions on the vaccine can be strong and frustrating at times, but please don’t give up.”

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