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COVID-19 GN Update - April 27, 2020

27 April 2020

Premier’s update:

Good afternoon. There are still no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut. Today, the total number of people under investigation to date is 550. 227 people are currently under investigation and 323 people are no longer under investigation.

Minister Ehaloak and Dr. Patterson are both speaking today, so I want to give them enough time before questions. Before they start, I do want to take a few moments to thank Nunavummiut for all their efforts, kindness, patience and strength over the last six weeks.

You may have seen the footage last night on the TV special Stronger Together, of volunteers here in Iqaluit who are providing the Breakfast in a Bag program for kids in the community every weekday morning. This kind of initiative and dedication is happening across the territory. I appreciate everything people are doing to help one another during COVID-19.

These efforts are the definition of Pijitsirniq and Qanuqtuurniq, of community spirit and togetherness, and innovation in uncertain times.

Thank you all, for your help and inspiration. I am very proud and very moved by all the good I’m seeing.

 

Minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation update:

As Minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation, I want to assure customers that QEC is here to help and provide supports to help customers during COVID-19.

QEC is offering flexible payment options to residential and commercial customers who are unable to pay their monthly electricity bills in full. Late payment fees will also be waived for customers under this program. The corporation will not disconnect service or install load limiters until further notice. QEC has also removed all previously installed load limiters.

The corporation understands that this is a challenging time for many Nunavummiut and is committed to providing support for customers where possible.

If you are struggling to pay your monthly electricity bill, please contact QEC Customer Care division by calling 1-866-710-4200 or emailing CustomerCare@qec.nu.ca to arrange a flexible payment agreement.

 

Chief Public Health Officer update

The new Order Respecting Social Distancing and Gatherings, which came into effect on April 24, replaces the mass gathering order issued on March 23, 2020.

The new order adds clarity around gatherings and social distancing and provides easy to understand scenarios that will help Nunavummiut more easily follow the order. It will also help businesses understand how to adjust their operations to ensure public safety and continued operation. Finally, the changes will also assist law enforcement and peace officers to more easily interpret the intent of the order in the unlikely event there is a need for enforcement.

I’d like to outline some of the new definitions and information provided in the new order.

Food service establishments and licensed premises remain closed. Restaurants can still provide options for take-out or delivery, as long as they abide by the rules of social distancing while doing so.

All businesses deemed as Personal Service Providers must also remain closed. These include hair dressing, barbering, massage therapy, and other similar establishments. Additionally, dentists, veterinarians, and psychologists must remain closed, except for emergencies. Public playgrounds, municipal parks, and day-use areas of territorial parks also remain closed.

Though still subject to closures and limitations, the following businesses are permitted to remain open: any business large enough to maintain a two-metre social distance within the workplace, or businesses that limit customers to no more than five at a time. The five-at-a-time rule does not apply to businesses that are large enough to maintain social distancing throughout the entire premise, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and similar facilities.

The order provides a definition to gatherings. All organized public gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited. This includes concerts, community events, sporting events, and ceremonies such as marriages, funerals, or memorial services.

Finally, all social gatherings, including social gatherings in private dwellings, shall be restricted to five persons or fewer. This includes play groups, club meetings, and meals with individuals who do not reside together.

This new order does not mean that restrictions are being loosened, or that the Government of Nunavut has re-assessed the territory’s position or tolerance for risk. Instead, the definitions under this new order have been aligned with definitions being applied in other jurisdictions. This makes restrictive measures clearer and more consistent in their application and enforcement.

It is strongly recommended that Nunavummiut limit contact with anyone who is not a member of their immediate household. Any social gathering carries a degree of risk, especially when we are looking at individuals from multiple different households mingling together. Nunavummiut must still exercise caution at all times, practise social distancing to the greatest extent possible, and wash hands and all shared surfaces thoroughly and often.

The previous order met the intended purpose of providing necessary tools to help protect public health. However, The Government of Nunavut recognized the need to provide clearer language and definitions.

For this reason, the Department of Justice worked with the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) to prepare a new Order to ensure the language is clear and understandable while remaining true to its intent.

 

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

NEW HOURS: COVID Hotline

Need to talk to someone if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have recently travelled to or from an affected area? Do you have questions about travel to Nunavut or the isolation sites? Please call 975-8601 or 1-888-975-8601 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.to speak with someone. Please remember this line is for those who need it – and should not be used for general inquiries.

If you have questions or need help in an emergency, call your local health centre.

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.

Travellers

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of April 26

Medical Travel

221

Public

118

Total

339

 

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 26, there are 743 requests, 560 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status

#

%

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

613

82.5%

Denied

90

12.1%

Pending

40

5.4%

Total

743

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.

 

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.