North

Self-isolation still mandatory for Nunavut residents returning from Yukon

While the Yukon government is allowing residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to travel there as of July 1, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said none of Nunavut's travel restrictions are changing right now.

'It is impossible to establish a bubble between Nunavut and Ottawa,' head doctor says

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer. (CBC)

While the Yukon government is allowing residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to travel there as of July 1, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said none of Nunavut's travel restrictions are changing right now.

In a news conference Thursday, Patterson said if someone from Nunavut travels to Yukon and then returns home, they will still have to isolate in Yellowknife first. 

Yukon's travel bubble extends to British Columbia, he said, so officials in Nunavut are "a bit wary of it."

Travellers can only access Yukon via N.W.T., B.C., or by flying from Nunavut, according to a press release from the Yukon government on Wednesday.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said Yukon Premier Sandy Silver did contact him yesterday when the announcement was made. 

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut. As of Thursday, there are 121 people being investigated by public health for symptoms. In total, 1,358 have been investigated. 

A public health emergency is extended until July 9. 

Nunavut residents returning home are still required to isolate for two weeks in government arranged hotels in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife. Even as travel restrictions in other regions loosen, these hubs will stay in use Patterson said, until a vaccine or other treatments are available, or until community transmission stops in those provinces where Nunavut residents travel. 

"It is impossible to establish a bubble between Nunavut and Ottawa," he added. There are 53 active cases in Ottawa right now.

It will also be complicated to create any travel bubble between Nunavik and Nunavut, he said, because the region is part of Quebec.

Missed the update from Nunavut's chief public health officer? Watch it here: 

Businesses have been complying with restrictions

Travel within Nunavut is even more costly than usual right now. Finance Minister George Hickes said public pricing is not part of government negotiated subsidies given to Canadian North and Calm Air for COVID-19 relief. 

This week, with conditions, bars and restaurants opened along with personal service providers like hairdressers and nail salons for one-on-one sessions. 

Formal inspections have been done of newly opened businesses, like restaurants and bars, to make sure physical distancing measures are being enforced. 

Patterson said so far all reports show businesses are complying.  

On Monday, Patterson announced that Nunavut travellers going to Churchill, Man., for medical purposes can return home without self-isolating. 

He said if the same "[COVID-19] situation in territory" stays the same in the late summer and fall, then schools will open. 

Any mine workers wanting to return to a community are being required to isolate for two weeks.

The press conference will also air at 4 p.m. ET on the CBC radio show Tusaajaksat.

Starting next week, government press conferences will happen one time each week, on Mondays at 11 a.m. ET.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Yukon's travel bubble extended to parts of Alaska. In fact, the travel bubble only extends to British Columbia as of July 1.
    Jun 25, 2020 12:19 PM CT
  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Nunavut residents who travel to Yukon will have to isolate in Yukon first before coming home. In fact, they have to isolate in Yellowknife.
    Jun 25, 2020 3:35 PM CT

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