Nunavut's top doctor says COVID-19 isn't spreading undetected in territory
Dr. Michael Patterson reassured the public during a press conference Wednesday afternoon
Nunavut's top doctor reassured the public on Wednesday afternoon, stating that COVID-19 isn't spreading in the territory undetected.
As of Wednesday, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said that if cases of the illness were in the territory prior to its border closing in March, there would have been evidence of it by now.
"Even without tests, we would have seen increased presentations to the hospitals and to the health centres with cough, fever and other respiratory tract infections," said Patterson at a press conference.
"We would have seen increased medevacs and admissions, and we have seen all of those drop over the last three to four weeks. So I'm pretty certain, as certain as anybody can be, that there's no hidden transmission of COVID-19 happening in Nunavut at this time."
The last restrictions to be lifted would be the travel restrictions.- Premier Joe Savikataaq
Meanwhile, Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said Wednesday it's going to be awhile before COVID-19 restrictions are lightened in the territory.
"It's somewhere way in the distance. The [COVID-19] cases down in southern Canada would have to be drastically reduced. We would have to be able to do mass testing in any community," he told CBC News Wednesday morning.
"If that happens, it would be a gradual opening under the advice of Dr. Patterson, and the last restrictions to be lifted would be the travel restrictions."
Missed the press conference? Watch it here:
The territory is waiting for 235 people to be cleared or get their COVID-19 test results, while 250 people who were investigated are confirmed to be COVID-19-free.
Savikataaq says the precautions, like closures and social distancing, are meant to prevent "mass spreading" of COVID-19 if a case should be confirmed in Nunavut.
The government is working on a way to help travellers access masks, after the federal government made it mandatory for flyers to wear a face covering or non-medical mask on all flights within Canada.
"We will make sure that anyone travelling in Nunavut will have access to a mask," he said.