Staff Directory

You are here

COVID-19 GN Update - April 29, 2020

29 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 580. 219 people are currently under investigation and 361 people are no longer under investigation.

As a public announcement, the public health emergency is being extended until May 14, 2020.

Many students have now received their first at home learning package. Most of these packages include work and activities for one or two weeks at a time, to strengthen skills in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing

Families should expect learning packages for the rest of the school year. I want to remind parents and students that these are designed to reinforce the skills students have already learned and will not be assessed by teachers toward final grades.

On behalf of the Government of Nunavut, I want to say a huge thank you to all school staff for supporting their students during these unprecedented times.

Across the country, provinces have started unveiling their plans to lift restrictions, so I will ask Dr. Patterson to speak briefly about what needs to happen here in Nunavut before that can happen.

We are committed to keeping Nunavummiut safe and well. Let’s all do our part.

 

Chief Public Health Officer update

As many of you may know, some jurisdictions in Canada have started or will soon begin a gradual lifting of the restrictions they have implemented to flatten the COVID curve. Today I’d like to speak in more detail about what needs to happen before we can do the same. There are three conditions that need to be met before we can consider relaxing existing restrictions in the territory. They are as follows:

  1. We need to achieve in-territory diagnostic capacity. This means that we need to be able to implement a rapid, accurate, and comprehensive COVID-19 testing program here in Nunavut;
  2. There needs to be significant indication that rates of COVID-19 are decreasing in the southern jurisdictions to which Nunavummiut most often travel; and
  3. There needs to remain no active cases of COVID-19 within Nunavut.

The nature of these conditions means that it is difficult to assign a specific timeline to re-opening, but fulfillment of these conditions is necessary to minimize risk to public health and safety. We need to know that Nunavummiut travelling outside of the territory can do so safely, and we need to be able to respond rapidly to any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Nunavut.

I know that people are eager to go back to work, visit loved ones, and engage in social activities. However, if we lift these restrictions too early, we will increase the risk to Nunavummiut. If we aren’t careful about how we transition back from these restrictions, then we could effectively undo all the hard work and sacrifices that we’ve made over the past seven weeks.

It is as important as ever that we stay the course: maintain social distancing, stay home whenever possible, and wash your hands often. These measures continue to be the best defence against COVID-19, and the best way to protect our families, our communities, and our territory.

 

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

Access to health care services will remain available in all communities seven days a week. All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily. Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services are and will continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All clients are asked to call before presenting at a health facility.

  • In Iqaluit, public health, the emergency room and inpatient unit will remain open.
  • Well baby clinics, prenatal visits and immunizations are continuing across Nunavut.
  • Physicians will continue community visits. If this is not possible, the visits will be conducted by telehealth or by phone.

 

Volumes

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of April 28

Medical Travel

206

Public

136

Total

342

 

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date

# of Travellers from Isolation Sites

April 29

38

April 30

15

May 1

19

May 2

6

May 3

14

 

Critical Worker Requests

As of April 28, there are 786 requests, 597 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status

#

%

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

646

82.2%

Denied

99

12.6%

Pending

41

5.2%

Total

786

100%

 

Department of Education Services

Student Learning Packages

  • Many students have already received an initial learning package from their teachers.
    • Most packages include learn-at-home work and activities for one or two weeks at a time.
    • Learning packages are focused on strengthening skills in literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing.
    • There is a mix of paper and electronic-based work, depending on the student and their circumstance.
  • Students and families should expect to receive learning packages for the rest of the school year.
  • Learning packages are designed to reinforce the skills students have already learned and will not be expected to be assessed by teachers toward final grades.
  • The department has provided continuity of learning guidelines for all school staff, which outline a number of ways that school staff can communicate with students and families.
  • The department would like to thank all school staff for supporting their students and their families during these unprecedented times.

Early Learning and Child Care Support

  • Following direction from the Chief Public Health Officer, all child care facilities must remain closed to children until further notice.
  • During this closure, the Department of Education has and will continue to pay all regular O&M funding to licensed child care facilities.
    • This should account for a significant portion of the monthly operating costs of a facility.
    • Because the day care closures were sudden and unexpected, the department paid parental fees temporarily to ensure facilities could continue to pay their staff, and to allow time for facilities to apply for federal subsidies, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The total cost of this funding provided was $885,000.
  • Department of Education staff are ready to support child-care facilities in their applications to these federal programs, and we have been communicating with all facilities around this.
  • The department continues to explore further options to support child care facilities, including possible use of federal funds.

 

Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services

As announced on April 22, the Department of Economic Development and Transportation (EDT) is working jointly with Nunavut Development Corporation (NDC) to produce non-medical masks for public use. This represents an initial investment of $35,000.

The Government of Nunavut’s production of non-medical mask is ongoing; to date over 2,000 masks have been produced by local seamstresses.

The goal of this initiative is to provide a steady supply of masks that will allow Nunavut to comply with the latest Transport Canada requirements for travellers, as well as ensure specific groups such as non-medical front line staff, Elders, and Nunavummiut with pre-existing health conditions can use masks as an additional layer of protection.

A simple guide on how to make a washable non-medical mask can be found in all languages at: https://gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus. The guide is based on the Government of Canada’s suggested mask pattern.

The Department of Economic Development and Transportation has also developed a guide on how to use the masks that are being produced by the Government of Nunavut. Instructions in all languages can be found at: https://gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus. This guide will also be distributed with every shipment of masks to communities.

Please remember that non-medical masks provide additional protection. They do not replace social distancing and other protective measures.

 

Qulliq Energy Corporation

QEC is offering flexible payment options to residential and commercial customers who are unable to pay their monthly electricity bills in full.

QEC has removed all previously installed load limiters.

The corporation will not disconnect service or install new load limiters until further notice.

For more information, go to: https://www.qec.nu.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.