Nunavut eased public health restrictions in Arviat Wednesday after more than 80 COVID-19 tests in the community came back negative.
The surveillance tests were taken to see if COVID-19 was being transmitted undetected in the community following a presumptive case of a school-aged youth that was reported on Sept. 17.
While that case returned negative after a second test, health officials in the territory said testing in the community of about 2,650 people was necessary to rule out "potential hidden transmission."
"All tests have come back negative for COVID-19 and the risk of the virus transmitting in the community is low," said Dr. Micahel Patterson, Nunavut's chief medical officer of health, in a news release.
"For that reason, it is safe to ease public health measures. However, masks remain mandatory across Nunavut."
Travel in and out of Arviat may resume, said Patterson, and people who are not fully vaccinated that left Arviat on or after Sept. 6 no longer have to isolate for 14 days.
Public health measures in Arviat currently include the following:
There is no limit to the number of people for outdoor gatherings.
Indoor gatherings in dwellings increase to 15 people, plus household members.
Indoor public gatherings, including places of worship, gyms, fitness centres, and swimming pools, are increased to 100 people or 75 per cent capacity, whichever is less.
Libraries, galleries may allow 25 people or 50 per cent capacity
Public places may allow group tours, group workouts and singing.
Team sports may resume.
Restaurants and licensed establishments are restricted to 75 per cent capacity.
Group counselling sessions increase to 20 people.
Parks buildings may open.
Long-term care and elders' facilities may allow a max of two visitors per resident; masks mandatory for all visitors over age of four; only immediate family.
Officials are reminding Nunavummiut that anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate at home immediately and call the COVID-hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET to arrange for testing, or notify their community health centre.