Around 100 People Vaccinated Each Day in Iqaluit, Top Doctor Says

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Iqaluit is inoculating around 100 people per day, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Public health is considering the many ways to raise its ability to deliver vaccines as demand is high and health staff is busy, Patterson said.

Health staff is stretched while managing the outbreak and supporting the vaccine rollout. Most are working 10 to 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week to respond to the outbreak, he said.

The high demand for vaccines at this time is partly due to the fact that many people received their first dose around a month ago when COVID-19 was discovered in Iqaluit and are now because of their second dose. Furthermore, Dr. Patterson said the demand for first doses is higher than projected.

The division of operations within the Department of Health is working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to develop plans for a potential mass vaccination clinic in the city and working with the Inuit organization for advocacy related to getting individuals vaccinated.

First fine of outbreak issued

Since the lockdown started in Iqaluit, there have been 119 complaints to the RCMP of public health measure violations.

Those complaints have led to five arrests and a fine for someone who was COVID-19 positive and was out in the community, breaking their isolation.

Contact tracing followed this person, but no new cases have been identified from them.

There have also been 11 written warnings and 36 verbal warnings, Savikataaq said.

Iqaluit food center staff have COVID-19 exposure

Staff at Iqaluit’s Qajuqturvik Community Food Center will be off work on Wednesday because of potential exposure to COVID-19 in a staff member.

Staff is getting tested and depending on the results, could be back to work Thursday, Patterson said.

The food center will stay open, however, with the assistance of workers from the City of Iqaluit, which was given money in two installments from the territorial government for food security.

Expanded surveillance testing

The Nunavut government is expanding its surveillance testing program to include residential structures where more than one home had positive cases of the virus.

Public health will deliver invitations door-to-door to residents in those buildings to get tested for coronavirus. Dr. Patterson said testing is voluntary, but he encouraged persons to cooperate with the testing as a method to reduce possible spread.

Thus far, four buildings have been identified for testing, though Patterson said the government will not be publicly releasing which buildings will be provided by this service.

As of Wednesday, the territory had 63 active cases of coronavirus, with all but one in Iqaluit, the other case is in Kinngait. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there have been a total of 634 cases in Nunavut.

There have been 59 cases of COVID-19 in children under 18 years of age since the beginning of the outbreak and Patterson said 16 of those cases were diagnosed in the last 7 days.

Recoveries have outnumbered new cases in recent days in Iqaluit, but Patterson has said restrictions will continue so as to flatten the curve and end the outbreak in the city.

Previously, Patterson said he has seen a trend of cases trending down as the weekends, and an increase of cases mid-week after weekend activities cause transmission of the disease.

Health officials in Nunavut are additionally waiting for a response to their request for Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine doses for all teenagers in the region.

The request went to the federal government and Dr. Patterson said Monday that he expected to hear back from the central office coordinating the shipping of vaccine later this week.

The N.W.T started administering Pfizer vaccines to youth in that region last week, and Yukon youth will start getting their Pfizer shots later this month.

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