Capacity ‘stretched’ as Nunavut deals with rising COVID-19 cases: top doctor

34 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Canada's Arctic territory of Nunavut

"This is it, folks - it's time to take a stand and fight against COVID-19".

(Vincent Desrosiers/CBC)Nunavut announced 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday - more than doubling the territory's total case count overnight.

Eight of the new cases are in Arviat, bringing that community's total up to 54.

All non-essential schools and businesses have been closed, as have libraries, fitness centers, government offices and personal services. The other two cases are in Rankin Inlet, where the community's number of positive cases is now six.

Some health-care workers have also been asked to self-isolate, Patterson said during the news conference.

He said there is no evidence of community transmission in Whale Cove and contact tracing continues in all four affected communities.

"In other communities things are more stable and we're certainly closer ... to having it stabilized and contained".

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COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada's northern territories are particularly concerning because healthcare services are limited and because there are often numerous people living under the same roof, which facilitates the spread of the virus.

Gatherings are restricted to five people and are not permitted in homes.

In Iqaluit, streets were quiet and parking lots mostly empty on the first day of the shutdown.

Two weeks ago, face masks were rarely seen in the capital.

Nunavut is to enter a territory-wide lockdown Wednesday.

There is some in-territory testing in Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit.

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