Nunavik on high alert

Le Nunavik sur un pied d’alerte

Photo: Ian Schofield Creative Commons
The village of Salluit, where the first person infected by the coronavirus, has been closed.

Following the first case of a COVID-19 declared, the authorities of Nunavik shut down gradually to the North. While the village of Salluit, where the first infected person, has been positively closed, the Kativik regional government is considering to extend the strict measures of containment to several other villages, learned The Duty.

Various organizations have begun to raise their voices to encourage greater compliance with the guidelines. “We are currently in a very serious situation with the coronavirus,” said for his part the president of the Makivik Corporation, Charlie Watt, on the page Facebook of the company.

“The organizations of Nunavik are doing everything they can to protect you. We closed the borders and have put in place curfews to reduce the spread of the virus. Now, we need you. The health authorities have established rules and we must follow them to save lives, ” he added.

All gatherings have been banned. More mass, funeral, wedding, baptism, birthday party and bingo, insisted the nunavik regional board of health and social services (NRBHSS), supported by Makivik. The outdoor family is permitted, provided that it is not with others.

“No kissing, sharing cigarettes or joints, and camping in a group,” insists Makivik in a long list of recommendations. And exit of the snowmobile to move from one community to another.

All air travel “non-essential” passengers are also prohibited.

However, workers in the field of education who were preparing to return to their homes in the South have been informed by the end of the day Monday that their flights were suspended. Under a ministerial decree, the teachers will be asked to volunteer to give a helping hand to the health network and the school staff is asked to care for children of essential workers.

In the case of closure of the airports, nobody will be put in danger. “The medical appointments essential, such as obstetrics or oncology, for example, as well as medical appointments, urgent will continue to be insured,” said Josée Lévesque, manager, communications of the NRBHSS. But the transportation will be by chartered flights and non-commercial.

Concerns persist

Some centers offering services to customers who are inuit, however, are concerned about the precautions taken, that they consider to be unclear and insufficient.

According to information obtained by Le Devoir, young offenders housed at Ulluriaq, a youth centre located in Montreal, which reports to the Tulattavik health Centre of Ungava, would continue their back-and-forth between the North and the South. A teenager arrived Friday from Salluit, where the infected person, would not have been placed in isolation.

Despite the hygiene, the young promèneraient anywhere in the centre without precautions.

In the absence of guidelines for the youth centres, what are the protocols for NURSING homes, which are followed, said the centre’s administration to its employees.

“We are working to ensure the protection of our young people, but also of communities. The outputs, the inputs comply with the guidelines issued by the public health, ” said Ms. Levesque. The ministry of Health and social Services is expected to publish soon specific guidelines.

“If a person whose detention is completed must return to the North, there is no problem, but it would have to be put in isolation,” said for his part, Hubert Forcier, union advisor for the trade union of workers of the health Centre Tulattavik. Ms. Lévesque pointed out, however, that a young person will not return to the territory of Nunavik ” as a legal review and clinical application of [his] situation would not have occurred.” “No visits from the outside or non-essential movement [are not] permitted. “

In addition, the health authorities say they have made every effort to contact the people who could have been in close contact with the young woman of Salluit who contracted the COVID-19. “Depending on each particular situation, isolates at home and additional tests have been carried out,” said Ms. Levesque. So far, about 30 people have been screened throughout Nunavik, and a single case has been detected.

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