Two COVID-19 recoveries were announced June 7, leaving only one active case of the virus remaining in Iqaluit and the territory.

The Government of Nunavut also announced exemptions for fully vaccinated individuals travelling in and out of the territory, effective June 14.

Public health restrictions are also being eased in Kinngait and Iqaluit.

“With no one remaining in isolation in Kinngait, COVID-19 cases in Iqaluit falling and new cases in the city contained to homes with already active virus, it is safe to ease measures in both communities,” said Nunavut’schief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson

Effective Wednesday, June 9, in Kinngait indoor home gatherings can have 15 people in addition to household members, and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. It is still highly recommended people keep their social circles small. Masks remain mandatory in indoor public places, (including offices) and when within six feet of another person.

Long-term care facilities, continuing care centres, boarding homes and health centres may allow a maximum of two visitors from their immediate family, per resident, with mandatory masks. Daycares may open and schools may open at Stage 2 of the 2020-2021 Opening Plan for Nunavut Schools.

Government offices may also open with masks and physical distancing, indoor gatherings for support groups and group counselling can reopen for up to 20 people and indoor gatherings including places of worship and arenas can take place for up to 50 people or 50 per cent of the facility’s capacity, whichever is fewer.

Food services and licensed establishments may open for business at 50 percent capacity.

As for Iqaluit, effective Friday, June 11, personal services such as hairdressers and beauty salons will be able to reopen with mandatory masks. Travel in and out of Iqaluit will continue to remain restricted, after June 14, fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer need to isolate at their final in-territory destination.

Additional details regarding the vaccine travel exemptions were also discussed at this mornings Government of Nunavut COVID-19 update.

“If you’re not vaccinated then (travel restrictions will ease) when the outbreak is over and the chances of spreading (COVID-19) to other communities is minimal,” said Patterson.

With regards to how this will impact the southern isolation hubs, the Health Minister said there’s no plans to close them at this time.

“Not everyone who is going through those hubs will have both vaccination shots. Not only that, we have people who can’t get the shots and we have children going through there and also people from (down) south who are coming into Nunavut. Not everyone coming up has both doses,” said Health Minister Lorne Kusugak, in light of the vaccine travel exemptions.

People who got vaccinated in Nunavut but do not have their vaccination card do not have to worry about providing that when applying for an exemption.

“If you get vaccinated in Nunavut, it’s entered into the electronic medical record. All health centres use MediTech – our standard electronic medical record – and it’s permanently stored in there,” explained Patterson.

Those coming in from outside of the territory who have been vaccinated down south, however, will have to provide further proof of having received a full vaccination.

“If you’re outside of Nunavut then you will be required to provide proof, like a letter from your doctor or a copy of those (vaccination) cards, and a certain number of those we will be verifying. Anyone caught providing inaccurate or dishonest information will be subject to fines,” said Patterson.

The exemptions are for only fully-vaccinated people, as Patterson says the first dose “is only partially protective.” With the new Delta variant that is becoming the predominant strain in many parts of the world, one dose is only roughly 30 percent effective at preventing infection.

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