1 presumptive COVID-19 case announced in Arviat in school-aged youth

·2 min read
The Arviat health centre. Residents who think they have COVID-19 symptoms are asked to isolate at home and call their local health centre to make arrangements for testing. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)
The Arviat health centre. Residents who think they have COVID-19 symptoms are asked to isolate at home and call their local health centre to make arrangements for testing. (David Gunn/CBC - image credit)

There's a presumptive COVID-19 case in Arviat, Nunavut.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, announced it in a news release Friday. He said a school-aged youth from the community tested positive in a rapid test on Thursday.

A second sample has been sent to the lab in Rankin Inlet for confirmatory testing, with results expected later today, Patterson said.

"There is strong evidence that the lab will confirm this case a true positive," said Patterson in the release.

Restrictions put in place

Schools in Arviat have been closed Friday as health officials assess the risk to the rest of the community.

Neither the likely-infected youth, nor their family has a history of recent travel, Patterson said, which could mean this is a second exposure. As a result, officials are tightening restrictions in Arviat.

The last outbreak in Arviat, which saw cases from November to April, was the worst the territory had seen, accounting for 339 of Nunavut's 645 total cases, including one death.

Travel in and out of Arviat is not recommended at this time. Anyone who left Arviat on or after Sept. 6, and is not fully vaccinated, is asked to isolate for 14 days from when they left the community of about 2,650.

A few other measures will now be in effect immediately, including:

  • Mandatory masks in Arviat in all indoor public places and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.

  • Indoor gatherings in dwellings decrease to 10 people, plus household members.

  • Indoor public gatherings, including places of worship, gyms, fitness centres, libraries, galleries and swimming pools, are restricted to 25 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

  • No public places may allow group tours, group workouts or singing.

  • Gatherings in arenas are restricted to 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less. No team sports.

  • Restaurants and licensed establishments are restricted to 25 per cent capacity.

  • Group counselling sessions are limited to 10 people.

  • Parks remain open but buildings are closed.

  • Schools will move to their learning plan combining classroom and remote learning.

  • Long-term care and elders' facilities may allow a maximum of two visitors per resident; masks mandatory for all visitors over age of four; only immediate family.

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should call the COVID-hotline at 1- 888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET to arrange testing, or notify their community health centre right away. People are asked to not go to the health centre in person, and to immediately isolate at home for 14 days.

Vaccines continue to be available across the territory. People 18 years old and older can call their local health centre to make an appointment or walk into Iqaluit Public Health every weekday to receive the Moderna vaccine. Children aged 12 to 17 can do the same on Wednesday to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting