9 new cases of COVID-19 found in Arctic Canadian hamlet with signs of community spread

The hamlet of Arviat, on the west coast of Hudson Bay, has banned alcohol for almost 40 years. Residents voted to uphold the ban again yesterday. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)
An undated photo of the hamlet of Arviat, on the west coast of Hudson Bay in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)
Just two days after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Arviat, Nunavut, nine new cases have been identified in the community as health officials warn of “signs of community transmission.”

A second case in Rankin Inlet, also reported Sunday, has also “been linked to Arviat,” a release from the chief public health officer states.

Nunavut’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was identified just nine days ago, on Nov. 6. Since then, its active case count has ballooned to 18, more than doubling with the announcement of 10 new confirmed cases Sunday afternoon.

While cases have been identified in Sanikiluaq and Rankin Inlet, Arviat appears to be in the midst of a minor outbreak, with a release sent Sunday suggesting there are as yet “no clear links” between the 14 active cases in the community.

The chief public health officer’s release also says all individuals are “in isolation and doing well.”

Rapid response teams deployed

The territory’s rapid response teams have been deployed to all three communities, and contact tracing continues, “with the end goal to trace and contain” the disease.

As of today, travel is restricted between Kivalliq communities, which includes Arviat, to help prevent further spread. Only emergency and cargo flights will be permitted, and hunters are asked not to travel to neighbouring communities.

Kivalliq schools have been closed to in-person instruction since the cases were first announced.

Sunday’s release also specified new measures to contain the spread and limit the risk to elders.

If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 please call the Covid toll free number 1-888-975-8601.

It is very important to…

Posted by Hamlet of Arviat on Saturday, November 14, 2020

“Due to the number of cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, anyone from Arviat who left the community on or after November 2 is being asked to immediately isolate for 14 days wherever they are,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, is quoted in the release as saying.

“In addition, to protect Elders in Arviat, there will be no visitors allowed at the Elders’ centre for at least two weeks,” the quote continues. “Exemptions to this rule will need to be approved by the public health doctor on call.”

Source of infection not identified

Nunavut requires all inbound travellers from outside the territory to isolate for two weeks at dedicated centres in major southern cities. For months, the territory saw no confirmed positive cases outside mine sites.

But in both Arviat and Rankin Inlet, travellers who completed two weeks at Nunavut’s isolation centres have demonstrated symptoms upon their return to the territory. Health officials have not yet identified the source of infection.

On Friday, Patterson recommended anyone returning from those hubs self-monitor for symptoms and observe strict physical distancing for two more weeks after their return.

Spokespersons for the chief public health officer did not respond to media requests sent Saturday. The premier and chief public health officer are next scheduled to speak to media Monday at 11 a.m. ET.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit association in Canada’s eastern Arctic adjusts COVID-19 financial support announcement after deluge of applications, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: New COVID-19 restrictions for Iceland’s schools and universities, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden’s northernmost county among regions to introduce stricter COVID-19 recommendations, Radio Sweden

United States: After early containment success, there’s now rapid COVID-19 spread in rural Alaska, including the Arctic, Alaska Public Media

CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

One thought on “9 new cases of COVID-19 found in Arctic Canadian hamlet with signs of community spread

  • Monday, November 16, 2020 at 10:12

    Scamdemic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *