4 more cases of COVID-19 reported in Iqaluit, masks soon to be mandatory in Nunavut

·2 min read
Four more cases of COVID-19 in Iqaluit brings the city's total case count to six. (Sara Frizzell/CBC News - image credit)
Four more cases of COVID-19 in Iqaluit brings the city's total case count to six. (Sara Frizzell/CBC News - image credit)

Four more cases of COVID-19 were reported in Iqaluit on Friday, according to the latest data from Nunavut's Health Department.

That means there are now a total of six cases in the territory — all of them in the capital.

Health authorities also issued an exposure notice spanning three days for the emergency waiting room of Iqaluit's Qikiqtani General Hospital.

Anyone present between 8 p.m. on June 7 and 9 p.m. on June 9 must isolate for 14 days and contact their local health centre. Those without symptoms are asked to present themselves for drive-through testing at the Cadet Hall between noon to 4 p.m. on weekends or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Another exposure notice was issued for the Tammaativvik boarding home in Iqaluit. Anyone there between June 4 to 8 should isolate immediately where they are and call their local health centre for testing. If in Iqaluit, people are advised to call 1-888-975-8601 for testing.

"The COVID[-19] vaccines are our best defence against the virus," Premier Joe Savikataaq wrote in a tweet, reminding residents that adults and young people between 12 and 17 years old can get the shot at a walk-in clinic next week.

Nunavut re-established its side of a travel bubble with the Northwest Territories on Thursday.

Anyone who hasn't gone outside the N.W.T. or Nunavut in the last two weeks can travel to Nunavut from the N.W.T. without having to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival.

Earlier this week, Nunavut announced that most people who are fully vaccinated can skip the two-week quarantine period before travelling to the territory from the south. That measure takes effect June 14.

The Nunavut government also extended the public health emergency through June 24.

Masks to be mandatory

Starting Monday, masks will be mandatory in all Nunavut communities.

A news release from the territory's Department of Health on Friday says the change is to create an "added layer of protection" now that vaccinated travellers can be exempt from 14-day isolation.

The new order means masks must be worn in outdoor public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained. As well, they must be worn during indoor gatherings and at work.

Youth in school-based activities and organized sports are exempt from the order.