Premier Joe Savikataaq and new Health Minister Lorne Kusugak delivered a stern message to Nunavummiut on Thursday, telling them that speculation about Nunavut’s three existing Covid cases is harmful.
“The positive cases are not exempted, critical workers. Anyone who implies or says otherwise is wrong,” said Savikataaq. “This kind of blame serves no purpose. It definitely doesn’t help the people with Covid or our communities. Please stop spreading misinformation and rumours, and needlessly attacking people. Your energy is better used trying to maintain public health measures and staying up to date with the facts. No one wants Covid-19, and no one deserves to be blamed.”
The premier added that there are no known links among Nunavut’s confirmed cases of the virus – two in Sanikiluaq and one in Rankin Inlet.
Kusugak shared a similar message.
“Let’s please stop guessing about who, what, where, when and how this happened, and focus more on what we need to do to stop the spread. Let’s use common sense and follow the public health measures. Limit visiting, wear a mask, keep washing your hands and coughing into your elbow, and stay calm,” he said. “Let’s support our health care workers. They are working around the clock on the frontlines and behind the scenes to ensure we are cared for. They deserve our support and thanks, not disrespect.”
The premier acknowledged the anxiety associated with the spread of the virus into the territory.
“I know this is a very uncertain time. I know that a lot of people may feel overwhelmed or scared. I know that it’s tiring,” Savikataaq said. “I also know that Nunavummiut are caring, thoughtful and community-minded. This means that we now need to step up and be more compassionate and careful than ever before.”
Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson clarified Nunavut’s Covid restrictions in light of the diagnosed cases:
• Schools in the Kivalliq outside Rankin Inlet and schools in Iqaluit are advised to remain open and follow the Department of Education’s opening plan for Nunavut schools.
• All food service establishments in the Kivalliq Region outside Rankin Inlet and in Iqaluit may remain open for on-premises dining, delivery, and take-out service.
• Seating capacity may be no greater than 50 people or fifty percent (50%) of the regular seating.
• There must be at least two meters of separation between tables and between persons in line for take-out or counter service.
• There shall be no more than six people seated at or congregating near a table.
• Food service establishments may continue to establish their own hours for onpremises, take-out and delivery services.
• Licensed premises in Baker Lake may open remain open for regular business hours, subject to any applicable licensing conditions. Physical distancing should be observed at all times.
• All organized public gatherings shall be restricted to:
▪ 50 people for outdoor gatherings.
▪ Five people in private dwellings in addition to household members.
▪ Other facilities used for community events or meetings, including places of worships, are to be limited to 50 people or 50 per cent of the rated capacity for the facility as established by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
• Non-essential travel is not recommended.
• Anyone who develops flu-like symptoms is asked to contact the health centre or Covid-19 hotline immediately.
• All government offices are to remain open.
• All government services to continue as normal.