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Canada Ottawa providing nearly $20M to help Nunavut combat growing coronavirus outbreak

08:50  26 november  2020
08:50  26 november  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

Nunavut orders shutdown of non-essential businesses, schools as cases jump to 26

  Nunavut orders shutdown of non-essential businesses, schools as cases jump to 26 IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut's chief public health officer has ordered a two-week shutdown, starting Wednesday, of non-essential businesses and schools in the territory due to the spread of COVID-19. Michael Patterson said Monday all health centres will close except for emergency services and all visits to long-term care centres will be restricted. Child care centres must also close to all children except for those of essential workers. RecreationMichael Patterson said Monday all health centres will close except for emergency services and all visits to long-term care centres will be restricted.

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Ottawa is contributing nearly $20 million in federal funding to the Nunavut government and Inuit communities to help combat a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

a harbor filled with lots of snow: Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Iqaluit, like the rest of Nunavut, is under a strict two-week lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Iqaluit, like the rest of Nunavut, is under a strict two-week lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The funding announced late Wednesday by the ministries of Indigenous services, northern affairs and economic development will go toward food support, personal protective equipment and other essential needs during the territory-wide lockdown imposed last week.

Nunavut reports 34 new COVID-19 infections, more than doubling total cases

  Nunavut reports 34 new COVID-19 infections, more than doubling total cases COVID-19 cases in Nunavut have more than doubled with 34 new infections. There are now 60 active cases in the territory. Nunavut's Health Department said Tuesday that an additional 26 cases have been confirmed in Arviat, a community of about 2,800 in western Nunavut. That brings the total in Arviat to 46. Arviat confirmed its first case of COVID-19 just four days ago, while the territory confirmed its first case Nov. 6. Eight cases have also been reported in Whale Cove, a community of just over 400 people, about 145 kilometres northeast of Arviat. There are also four active cases in Rankin Inlet and two in Sanikiluaq. Chief public health officer Dr.

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Read more: ‘All it takes is one case’: How coronavirus cases suddenly spiked across Nunavut

Over $2 million of the funding will also help support remote education needs, including expanding broadband internet access through the territory.

"COVID-19 has hit the Kivalliq region quickly and is testing our limited resources and capacity," Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a statement.

"(The federal government's) immediate financial assistance in response to the outbreak, and their swift action to provide support where we need it, is truly appreciated."

Nunavut was the only jurisdiction in Canada without any local COVID-19 cases until the beginning of November, but infections have snowballed quickly since then. Eleven new cases Wednesday brought the territory's total to 155, only two of which have recovered.

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Lawmakers and health experts say overcrowded housing, food insecurity and high unemployment have led to the rapid rise of coronavirus cases, which are now nearly three times the combined totals for northern neighbours Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Statistics Canada says 57 per cent of people living in Nunavut are food insecure. Nunavut Housing Corp. figures show 56 per cent of Nunavut Inuit also live in overcrowded homes.

Read more: Nunavut announces 2-week shutdown to curb spread of coronavirus

"We recognize that Nunavut has unique needs," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said in a statement.

"We are actively working with the territorial government, Inuit leaders and other partners to ensure necessary resources are in place to support affected communities, and combat the spread of COVID-19."

The largest investment within the funding to the territory is $6.5 million for municipal services like water and sewage, transportation of food and medical supplies, and additional medical personnel.

'Hardship is not a new thing': Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

  'Hardship is not a new thing': Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared its first case of COVID-19, but it's still unknown how 84 people were infected so quickly in the territory. Nunavut is home to about 39,000 people. Its 25 fly-in-only communities are spread over three time zones. Arviat, on the western shore of Hudson Bay where about 2,800 people live, had 58 cases as of Friday. Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer, says it's the only place where there's evidence of transmission from household to household within the community. There are also 13 cases in nearby Rankin Inlet, 11 in Whale Cove and two in Sanikiluaq.

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Eight-million dollars will go to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Kivallliq Inuit Association for food and supply hampers, along with land initiatives like food harvesting.

The lockdown that went into effect on Nov. 18 shuttered all schools and non-essential businesses throughout the territory. The hospital in Iqaluit and community health centres are taking patients only by appointment or in an emergency.

The lockdown was ordered after the number of COVID-19 cases started rising in the Kivalliq region on the western side of Hudson Bay.

Nunavut went through a similar shutdown in the spring as the pandemic first swept across the country, but restrictions were lifted because there were no cases.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, says this second round of restrictions is likely to be lifted in regions with no cases of COVID-19 as of Dec. 2.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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