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COVID-19 GN Update - November 16, 2020

16 November 2020

COVID-19 GN Update

Premier’s update

Good afternoon. It’s been a hard weekend, and as you all know, we have 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut – six new cases in Arviat and two new cases in Rankin Inlet. My thoughts are with everyone recovering and those isolating.

The total number of persons followed to date is 4089. There are 768 persons currently being followed.

Dr. Patterson will be explaining the new, territory-wide measures we’re putting in place, in just a moment.

Before I let him do that, I want to say this – I know this will be hard. We did not want to be back to the restrictions we had in the spring. But for the health and safety of all Nunavummiut, this is necessary.

Think of this as a circuit-breaker; a chance to reset. No one is above the rules here. Let me make this clear, so there is no misunderstanding: Do not visit. Do not socialize outside your household. And I cannot stress this enough – stay home if you feel even the smallest bit sick.

It’s more important than ever that we do everything we can to help our communities. We can do this.

There are essential and critical workers on the front lines working around the clock to keep Nunavummiut safe and healthy – please don’t let all their work and sacrifice go to waste.

If we all do our part, we will be in a much better position in early December. Please don’t take chances. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, stay home and stay safe.


Chief Public Health Officer update

Good afternoon. Overnight we confirmed six new cases of COVID-19 in Arviat and two in Rankin Inlet for a total of 26 cases in Nunavut.

Our public health and rapid response teams working around the clock to trace and test in efforts to track and contain the virus.

Through our investigation, we have a growing concern of COVID-19 spreading to additional communities which is why we are initiating a territory-wide lockdown with restrictions like what we saw in March and April.

We are taking these steps for at least the next two weeks to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Effective Wednesday territory-wide:

  • All gatherings are restricted to five people and there shall be no gatherings in homes.
  • All for profit and not-for profit business must close, with the exception of Grocery stores; Fuel and motor vehicle service stations; the Canada Post corporation; and Financial Institutions.
  • Restaurants may open for take-out services only.
  • All schools, including Nunavut Arctic College, federal, territorial, and municipal government offices must close to all but essential workers.
  • Schools will be providing remote learning options.
  • Personal services like hair stylists, masseuses and the like must close.
  • All sporting events and activities are suspended.
  • Fitness centres, gymnasiums and pools are closed.
  • Libraries, museums and galleries are closed.

To protect our elders, all visitation to elders centres and long-term care centres is on hold for at least two weeks unless approved by the doctor on call. We also ask that elders closely monitor themselves for any signs of the virus and call their health centre immediately if they feel unwell. If community members are checking on elders, please maintain strict physical distancing, do not go inside their homes.

Health centres are closed except for emergencies. The Qikiqtani General Hospital is no longer accepting walk-ins. Please call ahead and you will be assessed over the phone. Do not attend the hospital unless asked. Anyone who visits a health centre or the hospital must wear a mask.

If you have questions relating to COVID-19 or want to know if you should be tested, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-975-8601. Calling the hotline will allow our health staff to focus on managing the outbreak. Calls to the health centres should be for emergencies only.

Minister of Health update

We always knew that COVID-19 would one day come to Nunavut. Now that it is here, it is up to all of us to help stop the spread.

We have professionals that are doing the contact tracing and contacting people to follow up. Now is not the time for everyone in Nunavut be an investigator. Do not worry about who, what or how it got here. We need to worry about how we stop the spread. And that starts with you.

This outbreak has demonstrated how important it is to follow the public health measures and reminds us that there are multiple measures in place for a reason.

If we want to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe, we can’t pick and choose which measures to follow. We need to follow them all, as outlined by our good doctor.

The outbreak has people questioning if isolation works. For eight months it worked. For eight months it helped keep this virus out.

Isolation only works if people follow the rules while isolating. As Dr. Patterson has said, it’s not perfect, which is why we must follow all the rules.

Now that we are in lock down again, I urge everybody to follow the rules.

  • Don’t visit.
  • Stay six feet apart.
  • If you are under isolation, stay in isolation.
  • If you are sick stay home and call the COVID hotline.
  • Do not share things. We are a very social society and I know it is hard, but even sharing a guitar, harmonica, cigarette, whatever, could spread the virus.

The next two weeks I know is going to be hard for people, but please listen to the public health orders.

We all have a chance to prevent further spread of this virus by working together to stay apart. We can do it.

Christmas is fast approaching and putting the hard work in now to stop the spread of this virus is the only way we will be able to hopefully lessen the restrictions before then. And that is up to each and every one of us.

Working together, we can help everyone in Nunavut have the chance to spend Christmas with our families over a traditional meal.

That can’t happen if we don’t listen to the advice and orders of Dr. Patterson.

Stay calm and stay safe.


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

Total (All Health Isolation Locations)


Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of Nov. 16

Medical 520
Public 283
Total 803

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date # of Travellers from health Isolation Sites

Nov 13

Nov 14 0
Nov 15 20
Nov 16 113
Total 177

Critical Worker Requests

As of Nov.14 there were 8815 requests, 4121 of which were critical worker requests.

Request status # %

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

5945 67.4%


280 3.2%
Pending 172 2.0%
Common Travel Area Approved 2418 27.4
Total 8815 100%


Closed/Cancelled/Suspended services (Kivalliq Region):

  • All speciality clinics are cancelled until further notice.
  • Dental services are cancelled except for emergency only.
  • Telehealth appointments are cancelled until further notice.
  • Non-essential medical travel to Iqaluit is postponed. Appointments will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Home care visits are suspended at this time.

Adjusted services (Rankin Inlet):

  • All prenatal appointments will be by appointment only, through the birthing centre.

Adjusted services (Iqaluit)

  • All clinics will be virtual. Patients should phone the clinics to be screened and not come to the hospital unless it is an emergency.
  • Antenatal clinics will continue as is.
  • The Emergency Department will remain open for emergencies only.
  • There will be no routine lab or diagnostic imaging service.
  • There will be no specialist clinics.
  • No visitation in the ward excluding one visitor for palliative, minors, and two visitors per OBS patient.
  • Anyone going to the clinic is required to wear a non-medical mask. If they do not have a mask they will be provided a mask upon arrival and are required to wear it.
  • Main Appointments number is: 975 8600, ext 5425.
    • Alternative extensions include: 5430, 5431 and 5433.

Adjusted services (territory wide)

  • Dental services are emergency only.
  • Emergency dental care is available in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit.
  • All health services are emergency only.
  • Patients should call the health centre to be screened and not go to the health centre unless it is an emergency.
  • Anyone going to the health centre is required to wear a non-medical mask.


Department of Family Services

The Income Assistance Offices are closed for in person appointments. This closure is meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to keep everyone safe. 

Income Assistance will be issued remotely. If you have an appointment or would like to make an appointment for assistance, please call your local office or the Regional Office to set up an appointment. Please leave a message if there is no answer and you will be called back.

Residents of Arviat should be directing all inquires regarding Income Assistance to the Family Services Regional Office in Rankin Inlet 1-800-953-8516 ext 1602 or call the Kivalliq Regional Office: 1-867-645-5040 ext 1602 or ext 1600.

An Income Assistance Worker will call you back at your appointment time to conduct a phone assessment. If you are receiving EI, CRB or CRCB please have the amount and the last payment date available for your appointment.

No physical cheques will be issued during the Public Health Emergency in your community. Your Income Assistance Worker will ask you to choose a store, or stores, where you wish your payment to be made on your behalf in your community.

The payment will be available for you at that store after 11:00 a.m. the following day.

Please follow the store’s guidelines on social distancing and the number of citizens allowed in at a time.


Department of Education Services

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

K-12 Schools

According to the Chief Public Health Officer, as of Wednesday, November 18, 2020, all schools will be moving to Stage 4: Confirmed Cases and Community Transmission of COVID-19, until further notice.
As of Wednesday, November 18, 2020, all Nunavut schools will be implementing Stage 4 action plans, and will support remote learning for all students. 

  • Beginning Wednesday, November 18, all Nunavut schools are closed to students, staff, and the public until further notice from the Chief Public Health Officer.
  • All student instruction will be conducted remotely.
  • Remote learning will be done according to the action plans implemented by school staff, and may take different forms based on the needs of students.
  • Teachers/school staff will be contacting their students and families as soon as possible.
  • Updates on community stages will be posted on the Department of Education website:
  • School closures will not affect staff pay.
  • DEA staff should follow the direction of the CPHO as it relates to attending their workplace.
  • Funding to DEAs will not be affected, and DEAs are encouraged to continue to pay their employees as normal.

Early Learning and Child Care

  • According to the Chief Public Health Officer, as of Wednesday, November 18, 2020, all Nunavut childcare facilities should be closed.
  • Government of Nunavut funding to licensed childcare facilities will continue as normal.

Nunavut Arctic College Services

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • Nunavut Arctic College has moved into stage 4/code red of its opening plan all across the territory.
  • NAC facilities are closed to the public and students.
  • Programs will be moving to remote learning, where applicable.
  • NAC facilities will be accessible to essential workers only. Masks must be worn in the facilities.
  • Graduation plans for the class of 2020 are cancelled and will be held at a later date.
  • Non-essential travel is not recommended, any members of the NAC community requiring travel should contact their supervisor.
  • Students are encouraged to stay in their location for the time being.


Department of Culture and Heritage Services

Closed services

  • The Library in Iqaluit will be closed to the public starting Wednesday, November 16.
  • The Library Center in Bake Lake is closed until further notice.


Department of Community and Government services

Effective Wednesday, November 18, 2020 all GN office buildings will be closed to the public. Any members of the public who require to meet in person with any GN essential services staff who are present in a GN office building, will need to contact that individual directly and make suitable arrangements.

Requests to enter the territory for construction related projects or to travel within the territory for construction related projects can be emailed to

Construction workers who completed isolation to date: 2147

Department of Justice Services

Community Justice

In-person meetings for Community Justice are restricted to emergency situations where the client has no access to a phone or safe location to contact our service providers over the phone. Individuals are asked to contact the on-call Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA) line if they have any questions or need support using the following number 1-844-534-1038. The call will be assessed to determine the support needed and directed to a Community Justice Specialist who can help with applications and resource referrals.

Community Corrections

All Community Corrections offices will be closed to the public until further notice. All Community Corrections clients are to report by phone to the Regional Supervisors Corrections Officer using the following numbers:


Correctional Facilities

Corrections continues to follow safety protocols to prevent COVID-19 from entering our facilities and mitigate the risk of spread in the event it does. Measures already in place include suspending all outside visitation and non-essential traffic. We appreciate the patience and support we have received from inmates and their families in taking this step as we are aware this is not easy.

Given the heightened security risks associated with corrections, we can not provide specific details regarding our individual institutional plans. However, we can provide the following information regarding steps begin taken:

  • All intakes are being isolated for a period of 14 days upon intake.
  • Institutions have added additional hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas.
  • Response/containment kits have been outfitted with gloves, masks, face shields, gowns and instructions for use.
  • Nurses are diligently screening inmates upon intake for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Increased cleaning protocols to ensure communal surfaces are cleaned on an increased schedule throughout the day.

Labour Standards

The Labour Standards Office can be contacted by phone using the following numbers:

  • Phone:1-867-975-6322  
  • Toll Free: 1-877-806-8402    
  • Fax: 1-867-975-6367

The Office is still available to answers questions Nunavummiut may have regarding the Labour Standards Act and Regulations.

Court Services

The Court house will be closed to the public.

Court registry will be available to support the public over the phone and through email. Please use the following contact information for service.

  • If your matter involves criminal or youth proceedings, please contact the criminal Registrar at 867-975-6101
  • If your matter involves civil, family or children law proceedings please contact the Civil Registrar at 867-975-6102 or
  • If your matter involves civil enforcement please contact the sheriff office at 867-975-6103 or

Legal Registries

The Legal Registries office will be closed to the public.

Individuals can still access services by contacting 867-975-6590 or

Victims Services

The Victim Services Office is closed to the public at this time. However, Nunavummiut who need to contact the office can do so by contacting Victim Services Toll Free at 1-866-456-5216 or at

Services will be provided on a case by case basis.

Rental Office

The Rental Office will be closed to the public. To contact the Office, please contact 867-975-6314 or

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

The Office of the Public Guardian will be closed to the public.

To contact the Office, please use the following contact information.

For estate matters please contact 1-866-294-2127 or
For guardianship matters please contact 867 222-1805 or

Family Support

Family Support services are ongoing. The office will be closed to the public.

For information regarding your files, please contact 867-975-6112 or call toll-free at 1-800-792-4183, or email


Department of Economic Development and Transportation Services

Ongoing services:

  • EDT Offices across Nunavut will be transitioning to work-from-home on November 17, with all non-essential staff working from home by November 18.
  • Airport operations and maintenance will continue.
  • Access to all Air Terminal Buildings are restricted to staff, passengers, and people providing assistance to passengers.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in all Nunavut Air Terminal Buildings.

Adjusted services:

  • All other departmental services are transitioning to work-from-home, with only essential staff in-office.
  • Motor Vehicles Registrations and most Licence Renewal are still being done.
  • General Identification can be provided on an urgent basis only.
  • No new Driver’s Licences can be processed until further notice.
  • Applications for the following services can be found online at :
    • Driver’s Licence Renewals
    • General Identification Card Renewals
    • Vehicle Registration Renewals
    • Requests for Driver’s Abstracts, Vehicle Searches, and Accident Reports

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

All non-urgent Motor Vehicles Services in the including Driver Exams, All Visitors Center Programing, All departmentally hosted conference and in person training.  


Department of Environment Services

Ongoing Services:

The department will continue to respond to problem wildlife and spills. All spills are to be reported to the Nunavut Spill Line at 867-920-8130, 24 hours a day:   

Polar bear monitors will continue to patrol communities with active polar bear populations (esp. Arviat and Whale Cove), with instructions to have no in-person contact with general public and to follow the protocols outlined by the Chief Public Health Officer.

Closed/Cancelled/Suspended Services

All wildlife offices and parks offices in Nunavut are closed to the public until further notice. For wildlife response 24 hours a day, please call:

(* number forwards to regional office)


Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs

Ongoing services:

The Government of Nunavut continues to meet its privacy obligations under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. ATIPP Coordinators continue to process new and existing requests for information and will still respond within the 25-business-day timeline, except for where an authorized extension applies under the Act. For the contact information of who you can talk to about filing an ATIPP request, please see the link below:

Adjusted services:

Government Liaison Offices are closed to the public. Government Liaison Officers are working remotely. For contact information, please go to



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.