Another Nunavik community moved to yellow COVID-19 alert level in northern Quebec

Kangiqsualujjuaq is a community of about 900 people in Nunavik. The community was moved to yellow alert on December 9. (Catou MacKinnon/CBC)

Another community in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, has been moved down to the yellow COVID-19 alert level, with officials saying the public health situation in Kangiqsualujjuaq is in good shape.

“The measures have been eased in this community since there is a good vaccination coverage among Kangiqsualujjuaq’s population and there is no evidence of community transmission,” the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) said in a Facebook post on Thursday. 

Yellow is Nunavik’s second lowest COVID-19 level and allows things like bars and restaurants to be open, church services of up to 250 people, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, and permits high school students to remove masks while seated.

Kangiqsualujjuaq is the second Nunavik community to go to yellow after Kuujjuarapik, which was moved to yellow last week. 

Overall, the number of COVID-19 cases in Nunavik continues to decrease.

On Wednesday, the NRBHSS announced fully vaccinated people would again be able to travel to the South, or to other Nunavik communities, although they are still required to fill out a travel authorization before hand.

As of the most recent published numbers on Wednesday, the region currently has 52 active cases, down eight from last week.

There is currently one person hospitalized.

COVID-19 cases in Nunavik
“The risk is now the highest it has ever been,” the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said on Wednesday. “There is a risk of catching COVID-19 everywhere in Nunavik.” (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

The most recent active case counts in Nunavik as of December 8:

  • Salluit: 28
  • Akulivik: 13
  • Kuujjuaq: 8
  • Kangiqsualujjuaq: 1
  • Puvirnituq: 1
  • Umiujaq: 1

Since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Nunavik in October, there’s been 16 hospitalizations and 14 medical evacuations.

On December 7, the Quebec government authorized that a 3rd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine could be given to people 18 years old and older in isolated communities like Nunavik’s.

The NRBHSS says it would be able to start offering third doses to people as of December 9.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s Northwest Territories prepping for more travel-related COVID cases, say health officials, CBC News

Finland: Strong signs of tourism revival in Finland’s north, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland extends COVID-19 measures for at least two weeks, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland’s new domestic and international COVID-19 rules in effect until March 6, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden to introduce new Covid-19 measures on Dec. 8, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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