John Main has been receiving calls from constituents infected with Covid-19 asking how they can isolate in their crowded homes, and he doesn’t have answers for them.
Main, who represents the hard-hit riding of Arviat, said the community needs to develop options for people who test positive for the coronavirus and have many other people residing with them. He asked his colleagues in the legislative assembly to envision that they get a phone call from a nurse informing them that they have contracted Covid.
“From this point you have to be isolated in your house and you cannot leave your house and the people who live in your house, you have to make sure you’re not passing it along to fellow household members,” he said. “On top of that, imagine there are ten people living in the same house with you and you don’t even have your own room. What would you do? This has created a lot more problems. The lack of housing has caused a lot more problems.
“They have been calling me and asking me, ‘Where can I go sleep? I can’t stay at my house. I don’t want to pass on the Covid-19 to my family, so where do I go now? Where can I go
sleep?’ As an MLA, I have not had an answer to that, which is unfortunate.”
Main said Arviat, which is in the midst of its second outbreak of Covid, needs more secondary accommodations.
He asked Housing Minister Margaret Nakashuk whether public housing tenants have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
She said it does appear that way, but more analysis is needed.
He then inquired about how Covid has affected housing maintenance. Nakashuk said the impact has been “minimal.” Main said that’s not his understanding, so Nakashuk said she’d look for another update.
Main praised the work of Housing staff, nevertheless.
“I would like to give credit to the dedicated housing employees who have continued their
essential work of maintaining units, even through Covid outbreaks here in Arviat and in
Whale Cove. They’re very dedicated and they’re very important,” he said.