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COVID-19 GN Update - April 24, 2020

24 April 2020

Deputy Premier’s update:

Good afternoon. I’m filling in for Premier Savikataaq today, as he is on a call with the first ministers right now.

There are still no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

Today, the total number of people under investigation to date is 530. 253 people are currently under investigation and 277 people are no longer under investigation.

Today, we are announcing that all Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) campuses and facilities are now closed to students until the fall. Students with family can remain in NAC’s family residences.

NAC program heads and instructors will be in touch with their students directly about if and how their programs will continue.

Yesterday, a freighter aircraft flying to Greenland had to divert to Iqaluit because of weather. This technical diversion is permitted under international agreements, and the six crew members were considered essential workers. If the plane had been carrying passengers, they would not have been permitted to disembark the aircraft.

Working closely with Dr. Patterson, crew members were transported to a local hotel in personal protective equipment, and were isolated in their rooms while they carried out their mandatory period of rest to be able to fly again.

The aircraft departed Iqaluit at 5:30 a.m. this morning, and there was no interaction between crew members and members of the general public while they were in Iqaluit.

Tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time is Nova Scotia Remembers, the online vigil in remembrance of the victims of the tragedy in that province last weekend. If you’re interested, I encourage you to participate online or watch on TV, and stand with Nova Scotians and all Canadians to honour the 22 victims.

Heading into another weekend, with warmer weather and sunnier days, we once again ask that you stay home and practise social and physical distancing. I know this is hard, and I know this sounds repetitive, but it’s critical.

We all need to do this, and we all need to stay apart, together. It’s not fair to those doing it all day, everyday, if some of you aren’t. Each of us has community responsibility and a collective duty. Stay home and save lives.

 

Chief Public Health Officer update

I’d like to announce that today the Government of Nunavut is rolling out a free online self-assessment tool for COVID-19. This resource is user-friendly, available in all four official languages, and can be accessed through the Government of Nunavut webpage at https://gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus.

The purpose of this self-assessment tool is to provide Nunavummiut with real-time information and recommendations based on self-reported symptoms or recent travel history. The tool will help Nunavummiut determine whether they should self-isolate, and when they should contact a health care service provider for additional follow-up or testing.

This tool is meant to supplement the existing resources that are already available, and it is not a replacement for social distancing and good hygiene, such as washing regularly. Mass gatherings are still banned, and everyone is still required to follow the rules.

Nunavummiut who don’t have access to online resources but believe that they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, are encouraged to call the COVID Hotline at 1-888-975-8601. You can also ask someone with internet access to complete the self-assessment on your behalf by sharing with them your travel history and any symptoms that you may be experiencing.

 

As part of the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) effort to protect Nunavummiut against the risk of COVID-19, GN Departments are implementing the following:

Department of Health Services

Dental Services

Emergency dental services only will be provided in Nunavut communities until further notice.

If you live in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, or Cambridge Bay and are experiencing severe dental pain or infection, you can contact the dental clinics listed below to report your problem.

  • Iqaluit: Regional Dental Coordinator at QGH @ 867-975-8600 ext 6206
  • Rankin Inlet Dental Clinic @ 867-645-2776
  • Cambridge Bay Dental Clinic @ 867-983-4171

If your call is not answered, please follow the instructions provided in the message.

Please do not visit a dental clinic unless you have been given a pre arranged appointment time. People showing up at these clinics without a pre arranged appointment time will not be seen.

We ask that you arrive to your appointment on time, as we may be unable to accommodate late arrivals.

For those not living in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet or Cambridge Bay and who are experiencing severe dental pain or infection, please call your local health centre.

Face covering requirements for air travellers

The Government of Canada is directly that all travellers (with limited exceptions) must have a removable non-medical mask or face covering large enough to cover their mouth and nose during their travel through Canadian airports and in-flight. This directive is in effect as of Monday, April 20, 2020 at 12:00 ET.

Customers who do not have mandatory face covering will not be allowed to travel. Please note that these coverings do not need to be medical masks. Any face covering including a scarf or similar item is acceptable.

Volumes

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of April 23

Medical Travel

218

Public

117

Total

335

 

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date

# of Travellers from Isolation Sites

April 24

3

April 25

0

April 26

14

April 27

72

 

Critical Worker Requests

As of April 23, there are 691 requests, 514 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status

#

%

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

568

82.2%

Denied

87

12.6%

Pending

36

 5.2%

Total

691

100%

 

Department of Justice Services

The Department of Justice worked with the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) to prepare a new Order Respecting Social Distancing and Mass Gatherings to ensure the language is clear and understandable while remaining true to the order. This new order will come into effect on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. 

In addition, it is the Department of Justice’s hope the questions and answers below will provide additional clarity and will help Nunavummiut better understand the purpose of this order.

When can an enforcement officer enter into my home or public facility?

In the Orders being issues by the CPHO, there is a clear distinction between a building where you live, a “dwelling”, and a public facility, such as a grocery store.

Under these Orders, the CPHO has provided enforcement Officers with the authority to enter into public facilities without a warrant for enforcement purposes.

When it comes to your home, however, the government firmly recognizes your rights and the obligation of enforcement officers to take all reasonable measures to respect those rights. If an enforcement officer believes there is reason to enter into your home, they will need to get your permission, or get a warrant from the Court.

Who can enforce these Orders?

In addition to RCMP officers, and to ensure we have the capacity to enforce the emergency orders, the CPHO has authorized all peace officers who are appointed under territorial law, the ability to enforce the orders. This includes municipal enforcement officers, the sheriffs from the Nunavut Court of Justice, the environmental inspectors, and the wildlife officers.

Normally these officers can only enforce their own legislation. However, the emergency order grants them additional powers. To ensure those charged with protecting the health of Nunavummiut are prepared to take on this task, they will be provided with clear guidelines on their responsibility.

The CPHO authorized these peace officers for a number of reasons:

The RCMP may experience staff shortages during the pandemic and may need not be able to address this added responsibility;

The authorized peace officers are already familiar with and have had training in enforcement procedures under territorial legislation;

The orders affect entry into territorial parks and other on-the-land activities, where wildlife officers are often the first point of contact; and

Municipal enforcement officers are experienced with issuing tickets under municipal by-laws and are recognized as an enforcement body within Nunavut communities.

The CPHO is working with officials from the RCMP, the Government of Nunavut and municipalities to ensure consistent messaging and enforcement across the territory.

What do I do if I am concerned the Orders are not being followed?

Your local RCMP detachment can help and should be used as your first point of contact. If you are concerned, please contact your local RCMP detachment.

As we move forward, we will continue to monitor, review and amend these orders as necessary. Our measures will be balanced against the need to fight Covid-19. When we are no longer living under threat of this virus, we will no longer be in need of such measures.

 

Nunavut Arctic College (NAC)

NAC facilities will remain closed for the remainder of this academic season (2019/2020) to the public and to students.

Deans and program managers have worked with faculty and students to develop plans for the completion of the 2019-2020 academic year.

NAC will work with Family Services FANS administrators to ensure student support continues to be provided as needed. i.e. Student home travel and Student Financial Support.

Some programs in the Spring Semester would be delivered through alternative means (course packs sent to students, online offering, programming utilizing local resources).

Some programs are offered by semester and have completed a majority of the courses required. Students will receive a mark based on work completed as of March 17, 2020 (such as the College Foundation and Office Administration).

Deferrals of NAC . Students that have graduated would still receive a diploma, degree or certificate. The Ceremonies for these are currently being examined.

Nunavut Research Institute (NRI)

The NRI is also temporarily suspending our research support services. Public access to the NRI's research facilities (including laboratories and bunkhouses) in Iqaluit, Arviat, Igloolik, Rankin Inlet, and Cambridge Bay is restricted until further notice. The NRI's trichinella diagnostic program in Iqaluit will continue.

For more information, go to: https://arcticcollege.ca/

 

Nunavummiut’s health is our shared responsibility! Remember: wash your hands and surfaces, practice social distancing, listen to the advice of health officials, and stay home if you’re sick.