Nunavut’s fight against COVID goes on despite lockdown end | Polarjournal
Overall, 216 cases had been recorded in Nunavut: 174 were in Arviat, 21 in Whale Cove, 19 in Rankin Inlet and 2 in Sanikiluaq. However, as of yesterday (red): Only cases recorded in Arviat and Whale Cove. Other locations in Nunavut did not record COVID cases. There were no fatalities, but some patients had to be evacuated to hospitals in Winnipeg.

The latest figures from the Arviat hotspot, where most of the COVID cases have been recorded, sound optimistic. Out of a total of 174 positively tested cases, only 46 are still reported as “sick”. The remaining patients are considered recovered. In Whale Cove, too, most cases have recovered. Nevertheless, over the weekend, another 10 people were reported as COVID positive in those two locations. This after the two-week lockdown ini Nunavut ended last Wednesday, with the exception of Arviat. Curfews and closures still apply there, according to Nunatsiaq News, which also published the figures. According to their statistics, a total of 216 people in the four towns of Arviat, Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet and Sanikiluaq were COVID-positive. Of these, 165 have recovered again already. While there were no fatalities, an unspecified number of people had to be evacuated to Winnipeg last week.

The lockdown and the immediate measures taken by the government in Iqaluit (pictured: Parliament building) may have ensured that the virus may not have spread in the territory. But health authorities are not providing information about people evacuated to Winnipeg, their condition or their location. Picture: Ansgar Walk via Wikpedia

For Nunavut, the lockdown wasn’t the first. Already in spring, when numbers in Canada had soared, a corresponding measure had been taken. But now, the measures were taken while winter had started at the same time. In order to ensure that the entire population was well cared for without having to renounce the distance rules, aid deliveries and goods were brought directly to the door where necessary. Weekly updates from the authorities ensured that the public was informed of the condition at all times. However, it is still unclear exactly where the origin of the infection was. It is likely that the virus was brought from Winnipeg into the territory. Because in Manitoba and the rest of Canada, the numbers are still rising. Authorities are currently reporting around 413,000 infections since March, of which 2,628 have died. Currently, there are almost 84,000 positive cases registered across Canada.

Many places in Nunavut are now only accessible by air in winter and only with small planes. This creates logistical difficulties in delivering the vaccine, especially that of Pfizer/Biontech. It requires -80°C cooling. Picture: Michael Wenger

Last Friday, Nunavut’s health minister announced that preparations for territory-wide vaccination plans were underway. At the same time, however, there are logistical problems, since the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine can only be transported at -80°C, making it difficult to send it to the more distant places. According to the Chief Officer of Public Health, Dr. Michael Pattinson, it is more likely that Moderna’s vaccine will be used for distribution in the territory, as Nunatsiaq News reports. A total of 25 municipalities have to be reached, many of them only by air.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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