Nunavut’s chief public health officer has confirmed Nunavut’s first case of COVID-19, in Sanikiluaq.
Dr. Michael Patterson confirmed the case on Friday. A sample was collected from the affected person early this week and the sample was tested in Winnipeg.
“It’s been tested by the gold standard in the country,” Patterson said.
Because of the flight paths to Sanikiluaq, the sample was sent directly to the microbiology lab in Winnipeg, instead of being tested in Nunavut first.
He said contact tracing in the community is underway and the territory’s rapid response team is “on standby to help manage the situation should it become necessary.”
Patterson said it’s too early to say how the person contracted the virus. He said the person went in to isolation when symptoms developed. The person’s symptoms include a fever and cough.
Residents in the community of about 900 people are being asked to remain at home and to avoid mingling with other residents who are not part of their household, including family members.
“It is important that health measures are followed by everyone and that we all do our part to quickly contain a potential spread in the community,” Patterson said in a statement.
The territory said in the release that the affected person and their family are in isolation and doing well. As of noon on Friday, all travel to and from Sanikiluaq is restricted to cargo and emergencies, the release says.
A scheduled flight to the community on Sunday with individuals returning from the southern isolation hub has been postponed for the moment. Nunavut residents are required to spend two weeks in hotel isolating before they can board flights to Nunavut.
Emergency services are to remain open while grocery stores are to implement reduced hours. Shoppers must now wear a mask while in stores.
All for-profit and not-for-profit businesses have been ordered by the government to close, with the exception of grocery stores, fuel and motor vehicle services stations, financial institutions, Canada Post and restaurants open for take-out services. All customers must remain two metres apart at all times and no more than 10 people are permitted in a lineup at a time.