It is more than likely that by now that you have heard Nunavut is no longer free of COVID-19. Prior to now, cases have been limited to the mines which are isolated from the communities. As of November 15, the Government of Nunavut (GN) is reporting 18 confirmed cases – 14 in Arviat and two cases each in Rankin Inlet and Sanikiluaq
There has been a lot of speculation the cases are associated with Essential Workers who are exempt from having to quarantine prior to entering Nunavut. Last Thursday, the Premier released a statement saying none of the confirmed cases are Essential Workers.
The GN and Dr. Patterson (our Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) have always stated COVID-19 would eventually be present in our Territory (“not if but when”). Overall, the GN has done a good job keeping the communities COVID free for this long. Keeping us COVID free until now has allowed the GN - especially the Departments of Health and Education - the time they needed to develop and implement plans that will now help to minimize risks.
I would encourage everyone to follow the Public Health rules and precautions put in place – whether they are Territory-wide or specific to your community or region. At a minimum, we all need to commit to: Always:
- Wearing a mask in public if CPHO or local health officials advises to do so;
- Social Distancing; and
- Washing our hands regularly.
If you are felling any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19:
- Self-isolate; and
- Contact your Public Health office immediately to arrange for testing.
Being informed and getting our information for reliable sources:
- Social Media can be a great source of information; BUT it can also serve to spread misinformation; SO:
- Visit https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus for the latest and most reliable information and updates from the GN related to Nunavut and COVID-19;
- Get your information from reliable and trusted media sources; and
- Monitor www.neu.ca;, watch for future emails from firstname.lastname@example.org and the Nunavut Employees Union’s (NEU) Facebook page for updates from your Union.
If you know anyone who has contracted this devasting virus, remember it is not their fault. We all need to be aware that we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation and that we are all in this together. This is not the time to be judgmental or selfish. Be kind to each other and do your part in helping to keep us all safe. It is also time to recognize those that will be under the most stress as they work to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly since March and will now be called to continue their dedication and selflessness even under more serious circumstances. Let us show them the respect and admiration they deserve by following ALL public health safety precautions and by putting the health and safety of our Territory before our own personal feelings and reactions.