Covid-19 has reached Tuktoyaktuk.
A notification of a potential case on the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk’s Facebook page early Nov. 7 and Mayor Erwin Elias told Inuvik Drum the case was confirmed.
“Yes it’s here,” he said, adding that contact tracing was underway and rapid testing of the community would begin tomorrow. “We just finished a meeting. We’re going to focus on contact tracing and figuring out how many infections we have.”
Elias said the hamlet should have a grasp of how far the spread got within a few days. The GNWT Health and Social Services Authority has dispatched a rapid response unit to the community.
Residents are being asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary and wear masks, practice safe social distancing and proper hand-washing if heading out. The hamlet has announced all facilities will be closed to the public and Elder’s shopping time at Northmart has been changed to 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Elias said the hamlet was looking at the possibility of barring children from stores for the duration of the isolation period, but had not made a decision either way.
He said much of how the hamlet responds will depend on how the community reacts. He said the hamlet was very quiet, but cautioned people to stay vigilant.
“It is really, really, really important that people stay home,” he said. “Especially over the next few weeks.”
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. 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.
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 center.