A containment order for Tuktoyaktuk has been extended until Nov. 29.

As of Nov. 16, Covid-19 cases in Inuvik have dropped to 19. However, cases in Tuktoyaktuk have grown to 103. That’s just over 10 per cent of the population of the hamlet, which as of 2020 totalled 989 people.

Covid-19 infections in Tuktoyaktuk continue to increase, while the situation in Inuvik appears to have stabilized, according to a Nov. 16 update from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

“In Tuktoyaktuk the number of active COVID-19 infections has continued to increase,” said deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jame Talbot. “The evidence suggests that the community has not yet reached the peak of the wave of infections in the community.

“Residents that test positive for COVID-19 that share housing with others are encouraged to use the isolation centre to protect their family or friends from further spread of COVID-19 infections.”

Talbot added non essential travel in and out of Tuktoyaktuk is not recommended at this time and masking in all indoor spaces is mandatory.

An update to the restrictions in place in Inuvik will go into effect at 5 p.m. today, Nov. 16 and continue until Nov. 22. This updated public health order will allow students to return to school on Nov. 18, but all extracurricular activities for children under 12 remain prohibited.

An isolation station has been set up at the gymnasium of Mangilaluk School. It’s intended to provide a safe space for people who test positive for Covid-19. MACA and the department of infrastructure are working on sending cots to the community and a two public health workers are en route to the Hamlet to assist in the containment.

Following initial reports of four Covid-19 cases in Tuktoyaktuk on Nov. 7, cases in the Beaufort Delta exploded as data came in. By Nov. 13, there were 81 cases and the Stanton’s Grocery store was listed as an isolation site from Nov. 4 onward. This is in addition to exposure notices for Kitti Hall from 9:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on Nov. 6; the Jason Jacobson Youth Centre from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 4 and from 9 p.m. to midnight Nov. 5 and 6; and Mangilaluk School, Grades nine, 10 and 11, all day on Nov. 4 and 5. A containment order for the entire community was issued Nov. 9.

There has been some confusion in the government response to the containment.

On Nov. 15, Nanakput MLA and Canadian Rangers Sgt. Jackie Jacobson announced the Tuktoyaktuk Rangers had been activated to assist in the containment. He said on his Facebook page the rangers were to be active as of Nov. 16 and would be operating out of Jacobson’s MLA office. Anyone who needed groceries, medication, supplies or other assistance was asked to call (867) 977-2197. However, several people in the community reported there was no answer to phone calls on Nov. 16.

First Canadian Patrol Group public affairs representative Capt. Chris Newman told Inuvik Drum the Canadian Rangers have not been deployed, nor have they been asked to assist by the GNWT.

“We have not been activated yet,” he said. “Of course, if the request does come through, the Forces stands ready to assist.”

The announcement on Jacobson’s page has since been removed.

Inuvik hit 23 cases by Nov. 13. A public health notice published 4:34 p.m. on Nov. 12 listed the Trapper Bar from Midnight to 2 a.m. on Nov. 4 as an exposure site. This follows notifications listing East Three Elementary School, for the entire day of Nov. 3, 4 and 5; Roy Sugloo Arena at the Midnight Sun Complex Nov. 2 from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.; Shivers Lounge on Oct. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 27 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Oct. 29 from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Nov. 1 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.; Western Arctic Dental Group Ltd. from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 1; and the Children’s First Centre from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26, 27 and Nov. 1. Exposure notices for the Inuvik Legion McInnes branch were also published but later rescinded.

After closing for a week, Shivers Lounge announced they would re-open Nov. 15 for fully vaccinated customers. Proof of vaccination and government-issued ID will be required to enter.

All learning at East Three School and Mangilaluk School has moved online until at least Nov. 17. Youth activities for children 12 and under in both communities have been suspended until further notice.

Inuvik Youth Centre has suspended all youth programming as well as the after-school program, as well as the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s Aboriginal Head Start. The programming will be suspended until at least Nov. 17.

An isolation centre is in the works in Tuktoyaktuk, and the Jason Jacobson Youth Centre after-school program has been suspended, alongside the IRC’s Tuktoyaktuk Child Development Centre. Programming is suspended until at least Nov. 20.

A notice from the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk is reminding people the isolation order is still in effect even if they test negative for Covid-19. Hamlet officials stress that tests must be booked in advance and are not walk-in. To book a test, contact the Rosie Ovayuak Health Centre at 1-867-977-2321. The hamlet asks anyone with an appointment to be on time.

Anyone in the same household of someone who is told to self isolate must remain in isolation for the entire 14 days.

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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