Red Cross, feds to deploy 8 nurses in Nunavut  to battle COVID-19

By David Venn

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Eight nurses from the south will be travelling to four Nunavut communities to help the territory’s battle against COVID-19.

The federal government has sent two nurses to Rankin Inlet, while six nurses from Red Cross will travel to Baker Lake, Taloyoak and Igloolik _ “the communities currently with the most COVID-19 cases outside of Iqaluit,” said Health Minister John Main on Tuesday.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said the nurses will be working on anything COVID-19-related, but specifics will depend on the needs of the community.

“It could be testing, it could be contact-tracing, it could be administering vaccines, or all of the above, depending upon what the community needs,” Patterson said.

Last month, Premier P.J. Akeeagok announced the federal government was sending up three nurses to help ease staff shortages in Nunavut. At the time, it was unclear when the nurses, who all had experience working in Nunavut, were to arrive.

There are 366 positive cases of COVID-19 in the territory, as of Tuesday.

Main also provided an update on the outbreak at the elders home in Cambridge Bay.

He said 13 staff and elders have tested positive for COVID-19, but every elder is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot.

“That  will reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalization,” he said.

Main, who reminds Nunavummiut to get vaccinated, said Health Department staff have administered more than 4,300 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines since Dec. 21, and a total of 12,520 booster shots.

David Venn is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the NUNATSIAQ NEWS. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

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