|Nunavut has entered a two-week lockdown in an effort to get a handle on its first serious outbreak — which stands at 74 cases on Thursday — and to avoid overwhelming Nunavut’s small, isolated health-care centres.
None of the Nunavut communities with COVID-19 infections has a hospital. The only hospital in the territory, in Iqaluit, is more than 1,000 kilometres east of Arviat — the community with the most infections — and doesn’t have an intensive care unit.
„The thing that everyone is worried about is the fact that medical infrastructure to care for people who are severely ill is really quite limited in some places,” says Barry Pakes, a University of Toronto professor who was previously Nunavut’s medical health officer.
Hospitalizations have yet to occur, but sending seriously ill patients to Manitoba in the south may not be an option as that province is also dealing with limited capacity.
So far, Nunavut has not asked for help from the federal government. But Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak says the territory is in constant communication with Ottawa, and the federal government is able to send the military as a last resort.