Nunavut announces 10 new COVID-19 cases as territory braces for lockdown

Iqaluit Nunavut

"That's it guys. It's time to take a stand and fight COVID-19".

(Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)Nunavut announced 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday - more than doubling the territory's total case count overnight.

Another eight cases were identified in Whale Cove, which has a population of about 435 people, and is located about 150 kilometres north of Arviat.

"This is an outbreak", Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, told a news conference streamed online from the territory's capital, Iqaluit.

Non-essential businesses and schools will close.

Nunavut is shutting down for two weeks starting today to try to get cases of COVID-19 under control.

"Knowing that we're close to our limit in terms of capacity right now, that's the rationale for bringing these orders in place", Patterson said at a news conference Wednesday.

"In other societies, things are more stable. We need you all to make sacrifices now to protect our communities". Schools will switch to remote learning, child-care centres will only be open to the children of essential workers, and both indoor and outdoor gatherings will be restricted.

Masks are mandatory in societies with active cases of COVID-19 and "highly recommended" in all other settings.

Nunavut's two-week lockdown begins at midnight in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Forty-five negative tests were reported in Rankin inlet on Tuesday, with 60 reported Wednesday. Patterson said the machine on Rankin Inlet can run four tests an hour, while the machine on Iqaluit can run eight.



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