Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after a 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut’s capital city is under a strict lockdown after its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic was reported Wednesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Trante

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after a 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut’s capital city is under a strict lockdown after its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic was reported Wednesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Trante

‘Be prepared and not scared:’ Iqaluit locks down after reporting first COVID-19 case

Nunavut’s capital city is under a lockdown after detecting its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic

Nunavut’s capital city is under a lockdown after detecting its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The infection was reported Wednesday night and on Thursday morning all schools, non-essential businesses and government offices in Iqaluit, a city of about 8,000 people, were closed.

Canadian North, Nunavut’s main airline, has said the infected individual is one of its employees in Iqaluit. The company would not comment on the employee’s role in the company.

Nunavut requires travellers to isolate for 14 days prior to entering the territory, but essential workers are exempt.

The territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said the person is an exempted worker who has been in the territory for 16 days and started showing symptoms two days ago. The person was tested Wednesday at Iqaluit’s public health centre and the positive result came back about 8 p.m.

Given the timeline, Patterson said, it’s possible the person contracted COVID-19 in Iqaluit.

“We’re not certain how it got into Iqaluit … they were already here for 13 or 14 days when the symptoms started, so it’s not certain that they brought COVID into the territory.”

It’s Nunavut’s only active case of COVID-19.

But Patterson said the city’s public-health team has identified more than 10 people as contacts with the positive case and contact tracing is ongoing.

People from other communities who had been in Iqaluit and left the city on or after April 13 are also required to isolate for 14 days.

Indoor public gatherings in the city are banned and gatherings in homes are restricted to household members plus five people.

Patterson said businesses and workplaces in Rankin Inlet and the Baffin Island region can stay open with strict social distancing. Elementary schools in those areas can remain open at full capacity, but middle schools and high schools must move to a mix of in-class and at-home learning.

The Moderna vaccine is available to all Iqaluit residents 18 and up. To date, more than 3,400 people in the city have received a first dose and 2,000 have had two doses.

Premier Joe Savikataaq urged people who hadn’t received the vaccine to get it as soon as possible.

“For months, we have been asking Nunavummiut to be prepared and not scared. Now is the time to prove that,” Savikataaq said.

Patterson said a sample of the positive test is being sent to a southern lab to analyze for variants of concern, but results likely won’t come back for a week.

A public hearing on Baffinland’s expansion of its Mary River mine being held in Iqaluit this week has also been suspended.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board said residents from other communities in town for the hearing have been asked to isolate in their hotel rooms and wait for further instructions.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

x
Kimberley issues Water Quality Advisory

The first Water Quality Advisory of the season was issued by the… Continue reading

The City of Kimberley has launched a new survey to assess its short-term rental situation. Paul Rodgers file.
Survey launched to assess short-term rental situation in Kimberley

The City of Kimberley has launched a survey with the goal of… Continue reading

BC Wildfire Service personal put out a suspected human-caused fire near Horseshoe Lake. (Photo courtesy Jaime Vienneau)
Small wildfires near Cranbrook are under control or out, but risk still high

The small Hidden Valley wildfire southeast of Cranbrook which started Sunday is… Continue reading

Columbia Valley RCMP say there was one fatality in a single vehicle accident Friday. (File photo)
Traffic fatality reported near Fairmont, Friday May 14

Columbia Valley RCMP are reporting a traffic fatality on Friday, May 14,… Continue reading

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read