No matter how this battle turns out now that Covid-19 has finally made its way to the Kivalliq, it is heartwarming to see the hamlets, churches, business community, and various organizations and individuals stepping up to the plate and doing all they can to ease people’s fears and keep as much normal in community life as possible during these most trying of times.

What hasn’t been so pretty are the odd posts on social media pointing fingers and laying blame.

There is no one organization, company, government level or individual to be found at fault for Covid-19 finally making it into the Kivalliq region through Arviat, Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet.

In fact, it’s quite to the contrary.

We have been extremely fortunate during the past nine months, or so, for Nunavut to remain free of Covid-19 and, all the wishful thinking in the world aside, it was only a matter of time until the pandemic reached us here.

The airline industry is our life’s blood in Nunavut. It would be all but impossible in the modern world for Nunavut to survive without it.

Because of that and the supposed need for our region to keep flying in “essential workers” — often on the same flights as people on medical travel and others who isolated for 14 days in one of Winnipeg’s two hub hotels before returning home from their travels — any logic would dictate our luck was bound to run out sooner or later.

We were darn lucky it was the latter rather than the former. End of story.

But now that the virus has arrived in two of our communities to date, Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr.’s father, the premier, was bang on when he told his son that rather than pointing fingers and issuing blame, everyone should use that energy to help other people, not to criticize other people.

And, thankfully, that’s the way most have been responding since the region finally received the news from Nunavut chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson that its residents had been dreading to hear for so long.

In all honesty, for the first time since the pandemic started, the vast majority of residents in Rankin Inlet have been following Patterson’s directives to the letter.

There’s no sense in trying to enter any retail outlet in Rankin these days without wearing a mask because you simply will not be allowed entrance. And, you can expect to have hand sanitizer plopped in your mitts the moment you do gain entry inside.

And that’s the way it has to be if we’re to stop this darn virus in its tracks as we await, with every other human being on the planet, the arrival of a vaccine successful in ending this pandemic once and for all.

Meanwhile seeing hamlets providing food hampers, cleaning supplies and bottled water, church members driving around their community to hand out free face masks, retail store employees driving around communities to leave special treats at the doors of all those folks with stickers or posters on their window paying respect to all our front-line workers, warms the heart and boosts confidence in our ability to stop the spread of Covid-19, even as the number of confirmed positive cases continues to rise now on a daily basis.

It’s going to be a tough battle now that Covid-19 has broken through our territorial government’s staunch defences and made its presence known in our region, but we can stop it in its tracks if everyone follows the directives being issued by our government and fights the good fight on behalf of everyone in our communities, especially our elders and those at severe risk due to compromised and/or diminished systems.

Both Savikataaq Jr. and Rankin Inlet Mayor Harry Towtongie are bang on with their contention that now is not the time to let fear and panic rule the roost.

We must remain positive and be vigilant in our efforts to deny the virus deeper passage amongst our population.

It won’t be a walk in the park, but if we each do all that’s expected of us, we can send Covid-19 packing once and for all.

Food for thought.

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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