Nunavut health officials restrict travel to Cambridge Bay and Kinngait as COVID-19 continues to spread

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Kinngait, Nunavut, in winter 2020. Only residents can travel to and from the community, and only for essential reasons. Health officials announced Tuesday that the community now has seven confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Sara Frizzell/CBC - image credit)
Kinngait, Nunavut, in winter 2020. Only residents can travel to and from the community, and only for essential reasons. Health officials announced Tuesday that the community now has seven confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Sara Frizzell/CBC - image credit)

Nunavut health officials have added Cambridge Bay and Kinngait to the list of communities where only essential travel is allowed, and only by residents, after both communities showed signs of COVID-19 spread.

The communities join a growing list of areas with travel restrictions — including Arviat, Igloolik, Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet and Sanirajak — as case counts in Nunavut continue to rise. Nunavut residents remain under strict public health measures until at least Jan. 17.

In a press release Tuesday morning, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson announced there are six confirmed cases in Kinngait. There are also three cases in Cambridge Bay that are considered presumptive, meaning health officials believe those people have COVID-19 but haven't confirmed it yet.

"The new cases indicate a high risk of community transmission in Cambridge Bay and Kinngait, which cannot be ignored," Patterson stated in the press release.

Patterson also announced one presumptive case in Sanikiluaq.

Nunavut now has 210 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Fifty-five of those are in Iqaluit, 48 are in Arviat, 44 are in Rankin Inlet, 19 are in Pangnirtung, 15 are in Igloolik, 14 are in Sanirajak, seven are in Kinngait, three are in Qikiqtarjuaq, two are in Chesterfield Inlet, one is in Baker Lake, and one confirmed cases is in Cambridge Bay.

Those case counts do not include presumptive cases.

Patterson is expected to give an update on the COVID-19 situation in Nunavut Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, alongside Premier P.J. Akeeagok.

Watch that update live on our website or on the CBC Nunavut Facebook page or tune in to CBC North Radio One.

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