|Nunavut began a two-week lockdown on Wednesday as it grapples with its first coronavirus outbreak.
The territory, which recorded no official cases in the spring and summer, is now up to 70 recorded cases. Arviat, home to about 2,500 people, has 54 confirmed cases, Whale Cove (pop. 435) has eight cases and Rankin Inlet has six in a population of more than 2,800.
„This is it, folks — it’s time to take a stand and fight against COVID-19,” Premier Joe Avikataaq said Wednesday, calling on residents to do what they can to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Nunavut’s two-week lockdown order restricts outdoor and indoor gatherings to five people unless an individual family’s size is greater. Non-essential work is to stop, although child-care centres that cater to essential workers can remain open.
While no one has been hospitalized yet in Nunavut, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been a lagging indicator that often follow days or weeks later after a spike in cases, and the territory has more limited health-care services compared to most jurisdictions in Canada.
On a positive note, the territory’s chief public health officer says his department has found no particular superspreader events at this point that could have led to the large number of cases.