Zero to 70 days: Remote communities in Nunavut experience their first COVID-19 outbreak


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Everyone who has tested positive is self-isolating at home. Anyone who needs more intensive care, like continuous intravenous fluids, oxygen or life-saving care, will need to be airlifted to hospitals in south Winnipeg or Ottawa. Officials said on Wednesday there were several options available if some southern hospitals were overwhelmed by their own COVID-19 cases.

In response to the epidemics, the territory put in place extensive lockdowns from Wednesday, with all non-essential businesses closed and people required to work from home. Schools have switched to distance learning, students collecting educational kits, and thousands of laptops are on order for students to learn from home.

“In the future, they will do their homework,” Kusugak said. “It can get very complicated very quickly.”

Child care centers can close or remain open – a move to support essential workers, officials said.

Recreation facilities are closed and team sports suspended, and there are gathering caps for five people outside and five people plus family inside. The territory will reassess its lockdown in two weeks to decide whether it needs to go further.

“Knowing that we are nearing our capacity limit right now, that’s why these orders are being put in place,” Patterson said.

Kusugak said the Nunavut government has observed and learned of outbreaks that have occurred elsewhere in the country.

“We knew it was going to happen, we knew it was going to happen in Nunavut eventually,” he said. “I think we are handling it as calmly and as well as if it was eight months ago.

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