The place in North America with no Covid-19 cases

Covid-19 cases are rising in many parts of Canada, but one region – Nunavut, a northern territory – is a lone place in North American that can say it’s free of coronavirus in its communities.

Last March, as borders around the world were slamming shut as coronavirus infections rose, officials in Nunavut decided they too would take no risks.

They brought in some of the strictest travel regulations in Canada, barring entry to the territory almost all non-residents.

Residents returning home from the south would first have to spend two weeks, at the Nunavut government’s expense, in “isolation hubs” – hotels in the cities of Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Ottawa or Edmonton.

Security guards are stationed throughout the hotels, and nurses check in on the health of those isolating. To date, just over 7,000 Nunavummiut have spent time in these hubs as a stopover on their return home.

It’s not been without challenges: People have been caught breaking isolation and have had stays extended, which has in part contributed to occasional wait times to enter the some of the hubs. There have been complaints about the food available to those confined to the hubs.

But, as coronavirus infections spread throughout Canada, and with the number of cases on the rise again, the official case count in Nunavut remains zero.

Graph of daily cases and deaths in Canada, showing recent uptick
Graph of daily cases and deaths in Canada, showing recent uptick

The “fairly drastic” decision to bring in these measures was made both due to the population’s potential vulnerability to Covid-19 and the unique challenges of the Arctic region, says Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr Michael Patterson.

About 36,000 people live in Nunavut, bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north and the Northwest Territories to the west, in 25 communities scattered across its two million square kilometres (809,000 square miles). That’s about three times the size of the largest US state – Texas.

The distances are “mind-boggling at times”, admits Dr Patterson.

Natural isolation is likely part of the reason for the lack of cases – those communities can only be reached year-round by plane.

A general view of Sylvia Grinnel Territorial Park during a 3 day official visit to Canada on June 29, 2017 in Iqaluit, Canada.
Over 80% of the residents of Nunavut are Inuit

In late September, there was an outbreak linked to workers who flew in from the south to a remote gold mine 160km (100 miles) from the Arctic Circle.

(Those cases are currently being counted as infections in the miners’ home jurisdictions, keeping the territory’s official positive count nil).

That outbreak has “almost no chance” of spreading in the community because there hasn’t been any travel between the mine and any of the communities for months, says Dr Patterson.

But where isolation can help, it can also create hurdles.

Most communities don’t have the capacity to do Covid-19 testing locally, so tests have to be flown in and out.

Early on, tests results could take a week meaning “you’re really, really far behind by the time you can identify and respond”, Dr Patterson says. There are efforts underway to boost testing capacity and turnaround times

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North Dakota leads nation in per capita cases

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota leads the nation with 978 new cases of coronavirus per capita in the last two weeks.

That’s according to the COVID Tracking project, which reports cases per 100,000 people. Health officials confirmed 877 new cases and 18 more deaths on Friday.

The surge in cases and deaths statewide resulted in Republican Gov. Doug Burgum raising the coronavirus risk level in several North Dakota counties this week. However, he issued no mandated restrictions and mask use is voluntary.

The deaths reported Friday include 10 women and eight men, all in their 60s or older. All had underlying health conditions.


North Dakota, with a population of fewer than 800,000, has 30,000 confirmed cases and 388 deaths.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— France records 30,000 virus cases, highest single-day rise

— WHO study finds remdesivir didn’t help COVID-19 patients

— U.S. testing 3 drugs to try to tamp down coronavirus

— Coronavirus cases are rising in key U.S. presidential battleground states ahead of Election Day.

— White House puts political operatives at CDC to try to control virus information

— Thousands arrive in Hawaii on first day pre-travel testing allowing no quarantine

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MADRID — Spain’s health ministry has reported 15,186 new infections for the coronavirus.

The ministry says 6,591 cases were diagnosed in the last 24 hours. The remainder of the new cases were diagnosed in recent days but not reported until Friday.

Spain leads Europe with 936560 confirmed cases. With 222 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, Spain’s total has reached 33,775.

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DENVER — Denver’s mayor says the city will enforce stricter mask mandates and limits on group gatherings.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock says the mask mandate will include outdoor settings with exceptions for individuals who are outside alone or those with people in their households. Denver is also limiting the number of non-related people gathering from 10 to five through Nov. 16.

Colorado’s Department of Public Health Executive Director Bob McDonald says enforcement will include issuing summons to appear in court. Hancock emphasized the importance of personal responsibility to keep others safe and help protect the economy.

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GENEVA — A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir didn’t help hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

That’s in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries. The results announced Friday don’t negate the previous ones, and the WHO study wasn’t as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives since none of the studies have found it can improve survival. Remdesivir is among the treatments U.S. President Donald Trump received when he was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Oct. 1.

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LONDON — Prime Minister Boris

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What Costco, the North Royalton Post Office and My Dentist Have in Common

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I am a Costco-holic. (Hi, Lisa). Although I am not a fan of most big box stores, a trip to Costco is an adventure that I love. From the delicious food samples to the vast array of interesting products that, once discovered we can no longer live without, I enjoy the entire experience. But that's not what makes me appreciate Costco. It's their people.

From what I understand, Costco treats its employees extremely well. They have more flexibility and earn higher wages than competing stores offer. And it shows. The employees have fun and they ensure an enjoyable trip. When Scott and I first became Costco members, I was poking fun at the Kirtland Brand that reigns supreme all over the store. (Really, is there anything Kirtland DOESN'T put a label on?) With complete and utter sincerity, the Costco employee who I was talking to said, "There is NOTHING that Kirtland makes that is not top notch." Wow, that's commitment. I felt her passion, and I've discovered that she's absolutely right.

Now for the post office. I'll go out on a limb and venture to say that most people do not enjoy a trip to the post office. Face it, it's not generally a place where the employees are delightful, helpful, and fun – except in North Royalton, Ohio. I had a package to deliver and I drove out of my way, right by a neighboring post office, to go to MY post office. It's not that I've had horrible experiences at this other location, it's just not a place where the employees go out of their way to make customers feel special or important.

Not so in North Royalton. The package that I was sending was in an "if it fits, it ships" box. Due to the size of what I was shipping, there was a very slight bulge on one side of the box. A visiting postal worker was taking care of me and was sure if she was "allowed" to take the package. Her colleague, a postal worker who knows me by name, told her, "Of course we'll take Ms. Ryan's package – we love her!" In a long line of people, the clerks treated each customer with the same respect, patience and kindness that I was shown – and not one person complained about the wait.

Another customer handed Gary a notice to pick up a letter. She had had the notice for quite some time and the post office had already sent the letter back. Gary actually apologized to her for the letter not being there. Her response? "Of course, that's what I figured. It's not your fault. Thank you." Politeness, a sincere caring for the customer, and acknowledgment of their problems goes a long way in creating raving fans.

And finally, my dentist. I found Dr. Craig Vinkovich the usual way – by going online and reading testimonials. Funny thing is that Dr. Vinkovich was one of the few dentists …

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