Iqaluit will enter a lockdown Thursday morning after a case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the Nunavut capital.

“The individual is currently isolating and is doing well. We have initiated immediate contact tracing within the community and are working to identify all potential high-risk contacts quickly,” said chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Michael Patterson.

Effective 7 a.m. April 15, in Iqaluit, all non-essential businesses and government offices must close. Indoor gatherings are restricted to a household plus five for emergencies only.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people, all indoor gatherings are prohibited, all schools in Iqaluit will be closed for the remainder of the week and masks are mandatory in Iqaluit.

“We ask residents of Iqaluit to stay home as much as possible and limit contact with other community members, including family members living in different households,” added Patterson.

Travelers who have departed Iqaluit on or after April 13 must immediately isolate in their home community for 14 days. Non-essential travel is highly discouraged.

All other Baffin communities and Rankin Inlet, businesses may remain open but must implement strict social distancing.

In those communities, indoor gatherings are restricted to a household plus 15 people and outdoor gatherings are restricted to 100 people.

“I ask all Iqalummiut to remain calm and maintain strict adherence to the public health measures in place,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

“I am thankful that Nunavut’s vaccine rollout is well underway. More than 3,400 Iqalummiut have had their first Moderna vaccine and over 2,000 have received both doses.

“Now is the time to stay home as much as possible and do our part to slow any potential spread. Stay safe.”

NIRB hearings suspended

The CPHO also has ordered the immediate suspension of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s (NIRB) Public Hearing in respect of the Baffinland Iron Mines’ Phase 2 Development Proposal.

All participants are being instructed to isolate in their hotel rooms while the board and hotel await further direction from public health authorities.

Further instructions and updates will be posted as they are available on the NIRB’s Public Registry. The NIRB staff will also work with the hotel to contact Community Representatives in their rooms when the board is able to advise of logistics for meals, continued accommodations and changes to travel.

– with files from Emily McInnis

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