2 Kitikmeot communities see 1st presumptive COVID-19 cases

Cases reported in Gjoa Haven and Kugaaruk

Presumptive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Gjoa Haven, pictured, and Kugaaruk on Friday. (File Photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Presumptive cases of COVID-19 are being reported in Gjoa Haven and Kugaaruk, a first for both communities.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, reported the two new presumptive cases and seven new confirmed cases in a news release on Friday.

COVID-19 has now been confirmed or presumed to be present in at least 17 of Nunavut’s 25 communities, about a week after Health Minister John Main said he expected it to be in every community by the end of January.

Meanwhile, the tally of confirmed cases in Nunavut dipped to 128, with a total of 253 recoveries, 51 of them being added to the count on Friday.

There were a total of 128 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Friday, without counting presumptive cases of the virus. (Graphic by Mélanie Ritchot)

Active case breakdown:

  • Arviat — 8
  • Baker Lake — 13
  • Cambridge Bay — 10
  • Chesterfield Inlet — 5
  • Coral Harbour — 9
  • Iqaluit — 20
  • Kinngait — 16
  • Pangnirtung — 5
  • Pond Inlet — 1
  • Qikiqtarjuaq — 1
  • Rankin Inlet — 27
  • Sanirajak — 5
  • Sanikiluaq — 1
  • Whale Cove — 7
  • Taloyoak — 0 ( + 1 previously-reported presumptive case)
  • Gjoa Haven — 0 (+ 1 new presumptive case)
  • Kugaaruk — 0 (+ 1 new presumptive case)

Arviat’s case count saw a big change on Friday, going from 20 to eight overnight.

Earlier this week Patterson said multiple recoveries would likely be reported in communities in clumps like this, as total households get added to the resolved case count at the same time instead of on a case-by-case basis.

The presumptive case in Taloyoak has been pending confirmation since at least Tuesday, when it was first announced.

The presumptive cases in Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven and Kugaaruk won’t be added to the territory’s official case count until they are confirmed by PCR testing in a lab, either in Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet.

With the Government of Nunavut’s official case count only tallying confirmed cases, some communities like Cambridge Bay are producing their own case counts that include presumptive positives.

Patterson confirmed on Thursday some local health centres are reporting rapid test results directly to mayors and hamlets.

After this weekend, he said he expects testing and reporting backlogs to be cleared, and for results to consistently come back within 24 hours, meaning the case count will get more accurate.

Some public health restrictions are expected to ease on Monday, although some limits will remain in place.

Community travel restrictions will be lifted, five people plus household members can gather indoors, 25 people can gather outdoors, and personal services like hairdressers will be allowed to open.

Child care facilities will also be allowed to reopen, while schools are slated to reopened on a case-by-case basis as of Jan. 24.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Cambaymiut on

    The GN’s numbers are delusions. Cambridge Bay had 50+ presumptive positives as a few days ago, and the lab test results are getting back so slowly (people who were tested over a week ago still don’t have any confirmation one way or the other) that they’re useless.

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