10-day containment order issued for Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., as cases rise to 16

·3 min read
Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., is under a 10-day containment order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Health officials said there is now community transmission in the hamlet of about 1,000 people. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., is under a 10-day containment order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Health officials said there is now community transmission in the hamlet of about 1,000 people. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada - image credit)

N.W.T. health authorities ordered a 10-day lockdown in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., effective Tuesday at noon to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) said in a news release it became aware of 12 more cases Monday evening, which indicates there is community transmission in the hamlet of about 900. Four cases were reported earlier Monday.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, acting chief public health officer Dr. James Talbot said, based on similar experiences in other N.W.T. communities, a 10-day lockdown is "often enough time to contain the spread of COVID-19 if the restrictions outlined in the order are followed."

Talbot said it's not clear yet how the cases got to Tuktoyaktuk, but he expects to find out as more contact tracing gets done.

Mayor Erwin Elias said there's concern in the community but that it has responded well so far.

He said people have been staying home and inside their bubble.

He said the community may come to a point where it doesn't have enough facilities to house everyone who needs to self-isolate.

"It's something we're going to have to deal with going forward and plan in case it's a need," said Elias, adding the hamlet will be reaching out to the government for help.

Missed the news conference? Watch it here:

Arlene Jorgensen, chief operating officer of the Beaufort Delta Health Authority, said she expects about 250 to 300 people in the community of about 1,000 will be tested for COVID-19.

Talbot said as more testing gets done, more cases will be identified.

"That's normal at the start of an outbreak," he said.

He added the first four cases in the community were contained within one household but there are now four households that have cases, affecting school-aged children and adults.

According to Talbot, 84 per cent of people in Tuktoyaktuk 12 and over have received one dose and 72 per cent are fully vaccinated.

"Those are good numbers but particularly right now, we'd like to see those numbers go up," he said.

Vaccines are available at the community health centre between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day.

Containment order

Starting at noon Tuesday, people in Tuktoyaktuk can no longer gather indoors with people they don't live with, with a few exceptions including child care arrangements, caregivers to an individual, and people providing health and social services.

People cannot gather outdoors with people they don't live with.

Non-essential businesses and services will have to close, including the Jason Jacobson Youth Centre and the community centre. Students will continue to attend school online.

"Non-essential travel in and out of Tuktoyaktuk is not recommended at this time," the news release states.

Masking in indoor public spaces is now mandatory.

Essential businesses and services can remain open but are limited to 10 people indoors.

The order also states that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate immediately and stay indoors for 10 days. Anyone who is identified as a close contact to someone who tested positive must also isolate for 10 days but can go outside to get some fresh air as long as it isn't somewhere other people congregate.

The order is scheduled to be in place until Nov. 19 at 11:59 p.m.

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