Nunavut walks back plan to ease COVID-19 measures in Pond Inlet as cases swell

Nunavut Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said Friday that it's no longer safe to reduce health restrictions in Pond Inlet. Fourteen other communities are still on track to have some health measures ease as of Monday.

Changes in 14 other communities set to proceed Monday; Presumptive case in Clyde River

Pond Inlet, Nunavut. COVID-19 cases have risen in the community since Feb. 15. (Nick Murray/CBC News)

As COVID-19 cases rise in Pond Inlet, health restrictions there won't ease on Monday, says Nunavut's chief public health officer.

Dr. Michael Patterson made the announcement in a news release Friday afternoon.

The community was one of 15 where the territory had expected to introduce less-stringent health restrictions on Monday.

"Due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Pond Inlet this week, it is not safe to change public health measures in the community at this time," Patterson stated.

"We will continue to assess the situation and I urge community members to follow the public health measures in place and support efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet."

In an email, the Department of Health said there are eight cases currently active in the community, up from zero on Tuesday.

The announcement means gathering limits in Pond Inlet will stay at 25 for outdoor gatherings. Private indoor gatherings are limited to five people plus household members, while public indoor gatherings have a limit of 25 people or 25 per cent capacity.

Presumptive case found in Clyde River

The territory also announced Friday that a presumptive case of COVID-19 has been found in Clyde River.

The case is in the process of being confirmed.

Patterson said in another statement Friday that since there was only one presumptive case reported, there is no need to walk back changes to health measures in Clyde River.

Clyde River is one of the 14 communities where public health restrictions are expected to ease Monday, doubling the amount of people allowed at gatherings.