Nunavut capital declares local state of emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — Iqaluit's city council has declared a local state of emergency over rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

The capital city of about 8,000 people has 81 of the territory's 85 active cases.

Iqaluit reported its first case of COVID-19 on April 14, but the territory's chief public health officer has said the virus is likely to already have been in the city a week before that.

Dr. Michael Patterson says the variant first identified in the United Kingdom is the only strain of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the territory.

Last week, health officials also confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iqaluit's jails and medical boarding home.

The emergency order comes into effect at midnight tonight, but Iqaluit is already under a strict lockdown that includes school closures and travel restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press