Nunavut’s chief public health officer has ordered increased public safety measures effective immediately after a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was detected in Arviat.

The new case was identified on Sept. 16 when a school-aged individual from the community tested positive on an IDNow rapid testing device, according to a press release from the health department.

“A second sample has been sent to the lab in Rankin for confirmatory testing, with results expected later today,” stated Dr. Michael Patterson. “Schools in Arviat are closed today as we work to assess the risk. The COVID-positive individual nor their family has history of recent travel, which indicates this is a second exposure. There is strong evidence that the lab will confirm this case a true positive. For that reason, we are increasing public health restrictions in the community.”

Travel in and out of Arviat is being discouraged at this time. Anyone who left Arviat on or after Sept. 6, and is not fully vaccinated, is asked to isolate for 14 days from when they left Arviat.

Anyone who develops symptoms is asked to call Nunavut’s COVID-19 hotline at 1- 888-975-8601.

Effective immediately, masks are mandatory in Arviat in all indoor public places and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Schools will move to their learning plan combining classroom and remote learning. Meanwhile, long-term care and Elders’ facilities may allow a max of two visitors per resident; masks are mandatory for all visitors over the age of four; only immediate family can visit.

Further measures include: outdoor gatherings being limited to 50 people; indoor gatherings in dwellings are decreased to 10 people; plus household members; indoor public gatherings, including places of worship, gyms, fitness centres, libraries, galleries and swimming pools are restricted to 25 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

No public places may allow group tours, group workouts or singing. Gatherings in arenas are restricted to 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less. No team sports are allowed.

Restaurants and licensed establishments are restricted to 25 per cent capacity. Group counselling sessions are limited to 10 people.

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