Kangiqsualujjuaq, in Nunavik, on lockdown after COVID-19 cases double in 2 days

Nunavik health officials placed Kangiqsualujjuaq on the red alert level Friday after the number of cases in the village doubled in 48 hours, and the presence of the Omicron variant was confirmed in the northern Quebec region.

Nunavik health officials confirmed Thursday the Omicron variant is circulating in the northern Quebec region

The number of COVID-19 cases in the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq in Nunavik doubled, from six to 12, in two days. It prompted health officials to put the community in lockdown by placing it on the red alert level, the highest alert level in the province. (Catou MacKinnon/CBC)

Nunavik health officials placed the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq on the red alert level Friday, after the number of cases in the community of about 950 people doubled in two days.

Health officials said as of Thursday, there were 12 active cases in the community, six more than on Dec. 21.

All non-essential services are shut down and all non-essential activities are cancelled during a red alert level.

"People cannot visit others or host visitors, including visits between family members who don't live in the same house," states a post on the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services' Facebook page.

"For the holidays, two households are allowed to be together (always keep the same two households) till January 3."

Only essential travel in and out of the community is allowed and a curfew is in place between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Kangiqsualujjuaq is the only community in the northern Quebec region on the red alert level.

Omicron variant circulating

Health officials confirmed on Thursday that the Omicron variant is circulating in Nunavik, according to a news release, but they it didn't name affected communities.

Officials have asked residents to respect the public health measures in place.

There are five alert levels in Nunavik.

Of the 14 communities in Nunavik, two are on the second highest alert level, orange plus, 10 on the third highest level, orange, and one is on the second lowest level, yellow.

There were 19 COVID-19 cases in the region as of Thursday, with six new ones reported on that day and five on Tuesday.

In addition to the 12 active cases in Kangiqsualujjuaq, there is one in Akulivik and two each in Kuujjuaq, Salluit and Tasiujaq.

All incoming travellers must get tested

Health officials are distributing rapid tests at airports. 

All travellers in the region are required to test themselves every 48 hours from their day of departure, even if they have received a booster shot.

Travellers who have not received a third dose (booster shot) at least 14 days before travel must quarantine for 10 days after they arrive in Nunavik.

Travellers are also required to get tested at a local health centre on day five.