Tuktoyaktuk is showing the early signs of community spread.

A Public Health Advisory Nov. 9 from acting deputy Chief Public Health Officer (ADCPHO) Dr. James Talbot said an additional 12 cases were confirmed in the hamlet, bringing the total active cases to 16 in the community of 898.

To prevent further spread, the ADCPHO is issuing a containment order that goes into effect at 12 p.m. today, Nov. 9. It will last at least 10 days, until the stroke of midnight, Nov. 20. The order requires the closure of all non-essential businesses and remote learning at all education facilities. Indoor and outdoor gatherings are restricted to only household members.

“The rapid increase in the number of infections along with the absence of a clear chain of transmission indicates that Tuktoyaktok is in the early stages of community transmission,” said Talbot. “Non-essential travel in and out of Tuktoyaktuk is not recommended at this time. Masking in indoor public spaces is mandatory.

“Anyone experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and call the health centre for additional guidance.”

Inquiries about the public health order can be directed to ProtectNWT at protectNWT@gov.nt.ca or call 811.

The advisory goes on to remind people to only arrange for Covid-19 resting if told to by a public health nurse or currently experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.

“The ADCPHO would like to remind all residents that the most important thing they can do to protect themselves from severe outcomes from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated,” said Talbot. “All residents 12 years of age and older who are not yet fully vaccinated please consider making an appointment to receive your first, second or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Hamlet staff have been vigorously trying to keep Covid-19 out of the community, at one point establishing a road block to keep outsiders from entering and hosting multiple contests, including the Crush Covid-19 giveaway, which offered prizes up to $10,000 in cash for people to get vaccinated. Mayor Erwin Elias conceded that it was inevitable that Covid-19 would eventually reach the community, but noted the hamlet had already gone above and beyond in taking precautions and said he was confident they’ll contain any spread.

The community recently announced it had reached 90 per cent vaccinations on Oct. 15, however the GNWT’s Covid-19 dashboard lists the community at only 71 per cent fully vaccinated and 18 per cent not vaccinated at all.

A “fully vaccinated dance” was also in the works for November, which would have been only open to people fully vaccinated.

Mangilaluk school has been listed as an exposure site and has closed temporally until Nov. 18. The Community Wellness Centre, as well as at the the Tuktoyaktuk Housing Association office and the Jason Jacobson Youth Centre have been closed until further notice.

Elias said during a Nov. 9 press conference that he felt the community was doing well in isolating in the wake of the new cases. Dr. Talbot said it is currently not clear how the virus reached the community. Health and Social Services Authority Chief Operating Officer Arlene Jorgensen said 144 spots for immunization were booked Nov. 9.

An immunization clinic has been set up at Kitti Hall and was open as of Nov. 8.

The OCPHO confirmed four cases in Tuktoyaktuk Nov. 8 afternoon, noting all four were in a cluster and were isolating.

Students who attended Mangilaluk School Grades 9, 10 and 11 Nov. 4 and 5 all dayaare required to isolate regardless of vaccination status and follow up with community health center for testing advice.

Anyone who attended Jason Jacobson Youth Centre (JJYC) Nov. 4 from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Nov. 5 from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. or Nov. 6 from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. are required to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status and arrange testing with community health center.

Anyone who attended Kitti Hall Community Centre Nov. 6 from 9:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. is required to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status and arrange testing with community health centre.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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