Nunavut's chief public health officer announced 35 new cases of COVID-19 in the territory Friday, including a presumptive positive case in Coral Harbour.
The new numbers come one day after Dr. Michael Patterson announced the territory will no longer verify tests for COVID-19 in communities where the illness is known to be present and that anyone in a household with a positive case will be presumed positive.
The move was designed to free up health care staff. It means case numbers no longer paint a clear picture of how many people in the territory have contracted the virus.
The Department of Health will still verify tests to confirm COVID-19 cases in communities that have not yet seen cases during the latest wave of the virus.
That includes Coral Harbour, which saw its last positive test in October of 2021.
COVID-19 is now present in Arviat, Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Chesterfield Inlet, Igloolik, Iqaluit, Kinngait, Pangnirtung, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Rankin Inlet, Sanikiluaq and Sanirajak.
Cases have been detected but not confirmed in Coral Harbour and Whale Cove.
In a news briefing Thursday, health officials said they expect the Omicron variant of COVID-19 to reach all 25 of the territory's communities, and that they were in active talks with federal officials on how to get help.
While the Omicron variant appears to result in fewer severe cases of COVID-19, experts still worry about the impact on health care and other essential services as people isolate or cope with illness.
Nunavut health officials plan to offer twice-weekly public briefings, on Tuesday and Thursday at 11 ET, starting Jan. 11.
People who suspect they have COVID-19 are asked to call the territory's hotline, rather than visit their local health centre. The number is 1-888-975-8601.