NU Government: COVID-19 Department of Health Services update

June 4, 2020

Critical worker exemption notice for residents leaving or re-entering Nunavut

Currently travel out of Nunavut is not recommended and subject to 14-day isolation before travellers are allowed to return to territory. All Nunavummiut, regardless of employer, are subject to 14-day isolation. Only critical workers can apply for isolation exemption. Approval of exemption is at the sole discretion of the Chief Public Health Officer’s office and cannot be granted by any Nunavut employer.

If you believe you are a critical worker, apply to the CPHO by submitting the Critical Worker exemption form to CPHOTravelRequests@gov.nu.ca. If you are not approved by the CPHO for critical exemption, you must self-isolate for 14 days in a GN isolation site.

For more information on the travel ban, critical worker status or current public health measures, go to https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

COVID Hotline and Self-Assessment Tool

Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.

Anyone with access to internet can also take the online self-assessment tool nu.thrive.health

Isolation sites concern inbox

A new email address has been established to better address concerns and comments from clients completing 14-day isolation in the isolation sites in southern Canada. The new email will take pressure off the COVID toll-free line, patient relations and the CPHOTravelRequests inbox. The new email address is isolationrelations@gov.nu.ca.

Volumes

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of June 3

Medical Travel

208

Public

154

Students

0

Total

362

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date

# of Travellers from Isolation Sites

June 4

33

June 5

13

June 6

2

June 7

12

June 8

28

Critical Worker Requests

As of June 2, there are 1,352 requests, 1025 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status

#

%

Approved (includes critical and non-critical)

1161

85.9%

Denied

153

11.3%

Pending

38

2.8%

Total

1352

100%

Department of Health Services, June 1, 2020

Minister of Health update:

I’d like to invite all Nunavummiut to join me in celebrating World No Tobacco Day, which occurred this past Sunday, May 31. This annual event highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use, and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Right now, we are all working hard to commit to our public health measures that protect us from the threat of COVID-19. We are social distancing, staying home as much as possible, and washing our hands as much as we can. These actions are keeping ourselves, our communities, and our territory safe. Quitting tobacco use is one more step we can take to guard ourselves against the impact of this pandemic. We know that COVID-19 is mainly a respiratory virus, and early evidence suggests that smoking can make symptoms worse. Smokers are also likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19, as smoking increases the likelihood of transmission from one’s face and lips. Please remember: do not share cigarettes, joints, or pipes. Do not pick up discarded cigarette or cannabis butts. Wash your hands often, and refrain from touching your face.

The best thing that we can do for our health is to quit smoking. By making the decision to quit smoking, we can help to protect ourselves from COVID-19 today, and dramatically improve our health for the coming weeks, months, and years. Support is available for anyone who wants to explore options to help them quit. Message a counsellor on the Tobacco Has No Place Here Facebook page or call 1-866-368-7848 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is private and free. Counsellors can help you in Inuktitut, English, Inuinnaqtun and French.

Nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, is also available at no cost through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program at your local health centre or pharmacy. Call ahead, and ask your health care provider for information and options for NRT.

Thank you.

Chief Public Health Officer update

Good morning. Today marks the start of Nunavut’s Path forward. Day cares, territorial parks, and playgrounds are permitted to re-open, and the size limit for outdoor gatherings has been increased to 25. Today will also be the first of our bi-weekly assessments concerning the modification of public health measures.

As we look at altering public health measures, I want to take a moment and emphasize to all Nunavummiut the continued importance of social distancing. While we are in a position today to alter measures, we are not in a position to take social distancing for granted.

We’ve noticed through the contact tracing of persons under investigation that people’s contact bubbles are becoming noticeably larger. Larger contact bubbles will make it significantly more challenging to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to Nunavummiut, and we are not immune to this pandemic. We’ve made it this far thanks to our collective efforts, but those efforts absolutely have to continue.

With that said, I’m pleased to announce the following modifications to public health measures that will be occurring over the next two weeks.

Effective immediately, in-territory travel advisories are lifted. Travel outside of Nunavut is still not recommended. Individuals who are travelling outside of the territory need to be aware not only of the isolation procedures to return, but also of the measures that other jurisdictions may have in place to limit or discourage travel.

On June 8, workplaces and retail outlets are permitted to re-open, provided that they have safety measures in place. Galleries, museums, and libraries may also be opened for individual viewing and browsing, though group sessions are still prohibited. There will also be an increased availability of in-person health assessments at health centres across the territory.

On June 15, dental clinics, physiotherapy clinics, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatments are permitted to resume. Gyms and pools will also be permitted to re-open for solo workouts and lap swimming only.

Please note, that all these measures are subject to alteration should conditions change.

Thank you.

Department of Health Services

COVID Hotline and Self-Assessment Tool

Anyone who has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.

Anyone with access to internet can also take the online self-assessment tool nu.thrive.health

Volumes

Total (All Isolation Locations)

Traveler Type

Guests in Isolation as of May 29

Medical Travel

158

Public

116

Students

0

Total

274

Traveller repatriation summary:

Departure Date

# of Travellers from Isolation Sites

May 30

0

May 31

9

June 1

35

June 2

6

June 3

16

Critical Worker Requests

As of May 31, there are 1,291 requests, 987 of which are critical worker requests.

Request Status # %
Approved (includes critical and non-critical) 1100 85.7%
Denied 146 11.4%
Pending 45 3.0%
Total 1291 100%

Ongoing services:

Access to health care services will remain available in all communities seven days a week. All non-urgent requests will be triaged daily. Immediate access to urgent and emergent health care services are and will continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All clients are asked to call before presenting at a health facility.

  • In Iqaluit, public health, the emergency room and inpatient unit will remain open.
  • Well baby clinics, prenatal visits and immunizations are continuing across Nunavut.
  • Physicians will continue community visits. If this is not possible, the visits will be conducted by telehealth or by phone.

Adjusted services:

Appointments at health facilities are being triaged, this means the appointment may be over the phone or in person.

Medical travel services have been reduced to urgent medical travel only. Clients will be advised of these changes and involved in discussions.

In Iqaluit, outpatient clinics and rehab are triaging all appointments and conducting appointments. Lab and Diagnostic Imaging services at QGH are on reduced services. All upcoming appointments are being triaged.

MHA has moved to telephone check in and support for some clients. Scheduled appointments for medication pick up and administration remain the same. If you are in crisis, present to the health centre. Home visits to administer medications will be treated on a case by case basis.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

Only emergency dental services will be provided until further notice.

Specialty clinics have been cancelled. Work is underway to determine which clients can be seen by phone/virtual care.

All non-essential travel for mental health clients and families are cancelled. All non-essential travel for families visiting clients in care is cancelled.

No visitors will be allowed at long term care facilities in Nunavut – Continuing Care Centres (CCCs) and Elders’ Homes.

Read More: https://www.gov.nu.ca/health/news/covid-19-department-health-services-update

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