All Nunavut communities under strict lock down as COVID-19 surges across the territory

There are now eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory and the government is responding with new restrictions. Nunavut's MP, Lori Idlout, has confirmed she tested positive and is isolating at her home in Iqaluit.

Rankin Inlet and Sanirajak each have a positive case of COVID-19

All Nunavut communities are under strict lockdown orders as community transmission of COVID-19 is suspected in Iqaluit. There are eight active cases in the territory including the communities of Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit, Sanirajak, and Pangnirtung. (Jane George/CBC)

All Nunavut communities have entered into a full lockdown due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the territory. 

There are eight active cases in the territory: one in Rankin Inlet and one in Sanirajak. Pangnirtung has one new case bringing the total in that community to three. Iqaluit has one more confirmed case bringing the number of cases in the city to three. 

In a press release, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said the strict measures are to try and break transmission of the virus. 

"I ask all Nunavummiut to do their part and follow all the public health measures," said Patterson in the release. " I understand this will make the holiday season harder for many, but it is necessary for the health and safety of our communities and loved ones."

Effective immediately in every Nunavut community: 

  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people. 

  • Indoor public gatherings are not allowed.

  • In homes there can be up to five visitors for essential or emergency services only. 

  • Gyms, libraries, swimming pools and arenas are closed. 

  • Places of worship are closed. 

  • All non-essential businesses and government offices are closed.

  • Bars and licensed establishments are closed.

  • Restaurants are open for takeout only. 

  • Long term and elder care facilities are closed. 

  • Personal services are closed. Such as hairdressers, massage therapists. 

All schools in Nunavut will remain closed until Jan. 10 or until advised by Patterson.

Daycares can stay open for children of essential workers. 

All government offices are closed, along with non-essential business. It is unclear if Government of Nunavut employees will be working from home after the holiday closure, which ends Jan. 3. 

Anyone who arrives in Nunavut from outside the territory, and who is not triple vaccinated, is advised to isolate for 14 days upon entry into the territory.

New Restrictions for Rankin Inlet 

Nunavut's chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, introduced strict measures to try and break transmission of the virus. (Jacqueline McKay/CBC)

Starting at 11 a.m. CST, travel in and out of Rankin Inlet will be restricted to essential purposes only. 

Residents of Rankin Inlet are able to travel home and essential workers can also travel to the community with an exemption letter from their employer or the chief public health officer. 

Travel is also restricted in Pangnirtung and Iqaluit. 

The Mayor of Sanirajak, Jaypeetti Audlakiak, told CBC the positive case came from a passenger from Iqaluit that arrived in the community yesterday. 

Travel has not been restricted to Sanirajak. 

Nunavut MP Positive for COVID-19 

NDP MP Lori Idlout says she is isolating at home with COVID-19. (Don Sommers/CBC)

Lori Idlout, Nunavut's Member of Parliament, has issued a press release from the NDP saying she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation in her home in Iqaluit. 

In the release Idlout says she was in contact with a positive case and tested positive for the virus yesterday. 

Idlout says she is double vaccinated and her symptoms are mild. 

She is urging Nunavummiut to stay calm as cases surge in the territory and for residents to get vaccinated.