Rapid spread of COVID-19 in Igloolik leads to strict new health measures

Nunavut's chief public health officer says COVID-19 is spreading quickly in Igloolik, requiring strict new measures that include no vistiing and new isolation requirements for travellers.

'Effective immediately,' no indoor gatherings and new isolation measures for travellers

Igloolik is under strict new public health measures in response to 'the speed in which COVID-19 is spreading in the community,' said the territory's chief public health officer in a news release Monday evening. (Meagan Deuling/CBC)

With COVID-19 spreading quickly in Igloolik, Nunavut, the territory's chief public health officer put in place strict new measures Monday evening, limiting outdoor gatherings to five people and putting a halt to any indoor visiting unless it's for essential or emergency services. 

"I am responding to the speed in which COVID-19 is spreading in the community," said Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer, in a news release.

"Effective immediately, we will be moving to our strictest public health measures in Igloolik, including restricting non-essential travel to and from the community."

The community is home to 1,685 people, according to 2016 census data.

Patterson's news release called for any travellers who left the community since Jan. 17 to isolate immediately for seven days if they are vaccinated, and 10 days if they are not vaccinated.

Schools will remain closed, but daycare facilities may open for children of essential workers. 

All places of worship, libraries, and arenas are also closed and so are non-essential business and government offices. 

The restrictions also close long-term care facilities to visitors. 

Restaurants may only open for takeout orders. 

In-person group counselling is also closed and non-essential travel is discouraged. 

Patterson and the territory's premier, P.J. Akeeagok, will hold the first of their twice-weekly news conferences on Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET.

The news release also indicated there are longer than usual wait times to get through to the COVID-19 hotline.

However, anyone developing COVID-19 symptoms – runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing – is being asked to call 1-888-975-8601 and be patient.