Nunavut Reports First COVID-19 Deaths, Ontario to Announce New Lockdown Measures

Nunavut Reports First COVID-19 Deaths, Ontario to Announce New Lockdown Measures
A man wears a mask as he walks past the emergency department of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on April 3, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
Andrew Chen

The CCP virus has claimed the lives of two Nunavummiut, the first COVID-19-related deaths in the territory. Meanwhile, Ontario is preparing to announce new restriction measures.

“Today we are saddened to inform Nunavummiut of Nunavut’s first COVID-19-releated deaths,” officials wrote in a joint statement on Dec. 20.

“On behalf of the Government of Nunavut, we send our thoughts and condolences to the family, communities of Arviat and Rankin Inlet and all Nunavummiut during this difficult time,” they said.

The two male victims, identified as Luki Sammurtok and Dan Autut by Nunatsiaq News, both died on Dec. 19.
Sammurtok, an Arviat resident, was taken to a southern facility and placed in intensive care unit. According to officials, he passed away in the hospital after developing complications due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

His wife, Diana Sammurtok, posted on her Facebook saying that “COVID-19 is not a joke,” and warned everyone to be serious and follow the rules.

Autut, a victim from Rankin Inlet, contracted the CCP virus in southern Canada and had also developed complications before his death. Autut’s son, Cedric, thanked family and friends for their support and also urged the public to practice social distancing.

“Please stay safe and practise safe distancing. Thank you all for your support and love in advance,” he wrote on Facebook.

Nunavut had avoided COVID-19 for months before reporting its first case on Nov. 6 in Sanikilluaq. The territory has recorded 259 confirmed cases, with 34 still active as of Dec. 18.
The government of Nunavut imposed a two-week territory-wide lockdown in mid-November to early December. Restrictions were lifted in all communities apart from the Arviat region on Dec. 2.

Other judiciaries across the country, however, are preparing for more lockdown measures.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has moved several regions to higher levels of public health restrictions as regulated by the province’s color-coded indicator.

Effective on Dec. 21, Kingston, Forntenac and Lennox, and Addington Public Health regions have moved to Orange-Restrict level, while Timiskaming Health Unit has moved to Yellow-Protected level.

On Dec. 20, Ontario recorded 2,123 new cases of COVID-19 infections, bringing the total confirmed number to 158,053 in the province. Ontario also added 17 COVID-19-related deaths, with total deaths reaching 4,167.

Ford is set to announce more restrictions measures on Dec. 21.