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COVID-19 GN Update - October 8, 2020

08 October 2020

COVID-19 GN Update

Minister of Health on behalf of the Premier update

Good morning. The total number of persons followed to date is 3159. There are 523 persons currently being followed.

Dr. Patterson will speak in just a moment about the situation at Hope Bay Mine. First, I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the last few weeks to make sure this outbreak was contained, traced and isolated.

This work is invaluable in better understanding COVID-19, how it is transmitted, and how we can keep people safe – not just in Nunavut, but in other jurisdictions as well.

Thank you to the Rapid Response Team, the Office of the Public Health Officer, and everyone involved in the logistics over the past few weeks and months preparing for a situation like this. We appreciate all your hard work to keep Nunavummiut safe and well.

Finally, as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, I remind everyone to stay aware and attentive in keeping food prep areas clean, frequent handwashing, keeping gatherings small and within the current limits, and to stay home if you feel sick.

Thanksgiving may not be the same this year, but we still have a lot to be thankful for. As we continue to practice our public health measures and keep one another and our communities safe, please remember: Your actions. Everyone’s health.

Chief Public Health Officer update

Good morning. I want to begin with an update on the COVID-19 outbreak at Hope Bay Mine.

To date, we have confirmed 10 positive cases of COVID-19 at the mine with 6 presumptive positive cases awaiting confirmatory testing.

Since arriving at the mine site on September 29, the Rapid Response Team has been working hard to complete the test, trace and isolate protocols required to break transmission of the virus at the mine site.

Best practices around the world show that testing, tracing and isolating, combined with other measures such as travel restrictions and mandatory masks protocols for example are effective in stopping further acquisition and as well as containing outbreaks.

Restricting travel for the past 10 days was instrumental in containing the outbreak, and in reducing the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to other jurisdictions. The risk to Nunavummiut
remained low throughout the outbreak.

Today, based on the team’s work, I can report that there is no further evidence of transmission on site and while the risk can never be zero, we do consider the outbreak at Hope Bay Mine contained.

This means that travel to and from the mine can resume. Individuals who have finished their isolation period, and individuals who were not identified as high-risk contacts can travel home. Some high-risk contacts remain in isolation and are expected to be cleared to travel within the week.

The Rapid Response Team will be leaving the mine this afternoon and isolate for the next 14 days.

This week we also moved forward with Nunavut’s Path and further eased public health measures in territory. Among the changes, were increased gathering limits and allowances for expanded recreation activities.

We now have testing available in both Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit with a system in place to reduce the time it takes to receive test results. Our pilot project to reduce turnaround times for testing has been successful and has been fully integrated in our operations in the Baffin region. As of October 14, we are extending the project in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions.

As always, we will continue to monitor and assess the situation. If the risk increases, we may tighten restrictions to ensure the health and safety of all Nunavummiut.

I will end on a happy note and let Nunavut’s young and young at heart know that Halloween is a go for Nunavut.

To ensure trick or treating or other Halloween events are done safely, the Department of Health along with Community and Government Services Sports and Recreation have released a set of guidelines. These guidelines are available on the GN website and will be distributed to hamlets.

This weekend as we celebrate thanksgiving, I ask people to follow public health guidelines and limit gatherings in homes to 15 people.

Stay safe and work together with our public health measures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

Thank you.

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 Education update

On October 7, 2020, Minister Joanasie and the Government of Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, announced additional support for early learning, childcare and schools in Nunavut (the Canada-Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement ($2.4 million) and the Safe Restart Agreement ($2.6 million).

The Canada-Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement will support and maintain access to affordable early learning and child care programs through operations funding, create child care spaces in underserved communities, promote training and professional development opportunities for early childhood educators, and develop teaching resources and programming materials in all of Nunavut’s official languages.

The Safe Restart Agreement will provide enhanced custodial training and supplies for child care facilities and K-12 schools across Nunavut, and be used to purchase laptops, tablets, and internet capacity to support remote learning on an as-needed basis if a community is at a higher risk for COVID-19.

Department of Health Update 

Total (all health isolation locations)  
Traveler type Guests in isolation as of Oct 8
Medical 540
Public 320
Total 860

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure date # of travellers from health isolation sites
Oct 8 65
Oct 9 48
Oct 10 0
Oct 11 69
Oct 12 112
Total 307

Critical Worker Requests

As of Oct. 8, there were 6898 requests, 3303 of which were critical worker requests.

Request status # %
Approved (includes critical and non-critical) 4774 69.2%
Denied 264 3.9%
Pending 131 1.9%
Common Travel Area Approved 1727 25.0%
Total 6898 100%


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.