Health and Elders facilities in Iqaluit have introduced a temporary no-visitor policy effective Jan. 5 in light of a “surge” of Covid-19 cases in the Qikiqtaaluk region following the holidays.

Masks are required for all Iqaluit Health Services employees, clients and visiting escorts.

The following clients are permitted one escort to health facilities:


-obstetrical clients during active labour

-palliative care clients

-clients who need support or interpretation, such as Elders

Although no other health measures outside of the ones adopted at Elders and health facilities are being considered at this time, authorities will have react based on circumstances that arise, according to Nunavut’s chief public health officer.

“We might have instances where we will have to declare localized public health emergencies if outbreaks put too much strain on the health system and public health measures are required,” said Dr. Sean Wachtel.

Factors such as the vaccine’s effectiveness against new variants of Covid-19 will also be taken into consideration, he added.

“We do not provide exact percentages of each variant and sub-variant. But of cases reported, most are Omicron, its variants and sub-variants,” said Wachtel.

This surge in Covid-19 cases is measured by the Department of Health through a number of factors, such as PCR testing, point-of-care testing by community health centres, as well as rapid antigen tests reported through health facilities and the Covid-19 hotline.

Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 17, three people were either medevaced or hospitalized due to the virus.

With multiple health centres expected to close in Nunavut, the Department of Health is urging people to take precautions to protect themselves against Covid-19.

These include getting vaccinated, self-isolating when sick, washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask in health/Elder facilities and physical distancing.

If you are worried about Covid-19, test positive and need help, contact the Covid-19 hotline from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST at 1-888-975-8601.

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