As of May 6, about $4 million has been spent by the Government of Nunavut to self-isolate 1,022 Nunavummiut in the south.
Finance and Health Minister George Hicks said he is not surprised by the figure.
“We had made some very rough estimates and this has fallen in line with what I had anticipated anyway,” he said during the GN’s Friday press conference.
The finance minister emphasized that the $3,982,673 has been “a well-placed investment.”
This money spent has allowed the territory to remain Covid-19 free, according to Hickes.
The amount of money the GN is willing to put towards self-isolation in the future is unknown, he said.
“We don’t have a figure in mind, nor do we have a timeline in mind, which I think is the biggest parameter,” the minister said.
When asked how the GN could have reduced costs of self-isolation, Hickes replied, “Plan it out better.” He said the GN had set up the isolation hubs in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Yellowknife in about 36 hours.
“In a normal process, we would have gone to competitive bids or at least invitational bids, which might have alleviated some of the costs,” he explained.
Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said, “I’m not worried so much about the money but in protecting the health of Nunavummuit.
The territory’s top doctor explained the impacts of having had Covid-19 in multiple communities simultaneously could have been “much bigger” than the impacts that have resulted from self-isolation.
Patterson said, “(in) terms of prevention, we’ll continue to do what we need to do to protect the health of Nunavummiut.”
The number of individuals on the waiting list to check into isolation hubs is currently zero. Individuals are “very quickly” getting registered into GN designed hotels, assured Patterson.
As of May 7, there were 351 guests in isolation down south. Of those, 125 self-isolated individuals are expected to return between May 8 and May 12.