Air Inuit traveller with COVID-19 flew to and from Puvirnituq

Infected person flew Montreal to Puvirnituq and back on Jan. 18

Makivik Corp. has created a new executive role to help manage Air Inuit, one of its subsidiary companies. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The board responsible for health care in the Nunavik territory of Quebec warns that a person infected with COVID-19 flew back and forth between Puvirnituq and Montreal on Jan. 18.

The traveller flew from Puvirnituq to Montreal on Air Inuit flight 3H700 and returned to Montreal the same day, on Air Inuit flight 3H705, Josée Lévesque of the Nunavut Regional Board of Health and Social Services said in an emailed announcement.

The infected person is now in the south, in isolation.

But the health board did not state whether the infected person was a passenger or a flight crew member. Air Inuit uses a Boeing 737-200 jet to service that route.

The health board said they believe no other travellers and no one in any Nunavik community had close contact with the infected person.

And a public health investigation revealed that those aboard the two flights followed “all protective measures,” including the wearing of masks, the health board said.

As a precaution, the health board recommends passengers aboard those two Jan. 18 flights between Montreal and Puvirnituq self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, fever, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, loss of smell or difficulty breathing.

This past April, Puvirnituq, home to about 1,900 people, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, when 14 positive cases were confirmed. And in July, another positive case turned up in Puvirnituq, bringing the total to 15 cases.

If anyone does develop symptoms, they should call arrange to get a COVID-19 test and call Info-Santé 811.

Info-Santé 811 is a free, confidential telephone consultation service available to Quebec residents, but it is not available in Nunavik or the Cree territory of James Bay. It does, however, offer service to anglophones.

And, as usual, any travellers to Nunavik from southern Quebec must be screened seven days after their arrival.

Meanwhile, Nunavik’s COVID-19 immunization campaign got started this week, after a first batch of 1,000 Moderna vaccine doses were flown to the territory.

Elder Johnny Watt, 94, of Kuujjuaq was the first person to get a shot, on Jan. 17.

Also last week, health officials confirmed the existence of six COVID-19 cases at the Ullivik residence for Nunavik medical travellers in Montreal.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Catch me if you can on

    The fact that an infected person can travel to and from Nunavik speaks volumes about the weakness in the system. The whole system depends mainly upon the disclosure and honesty of the person that travels. It’s not to say that the authorities will not detect an infected person, but detection is not really any good by itself. We are all at the mercy of the infected person really, just think about it. We are only as safe as an infected persons honestly doing quarantine. Who we meet on a flight or otherwise, we are all in the darkness. I’ll go a little further and say we are all in some control of our behaviour, and that got something to offer. But our neighbours are our threat if they don’t behave well. It’s nothing new with behaviour, it’s just that it’s a new reason to behave or misbehave. It’s Covid-19 at it’s worse, manifested by human behaviour.

  2. Posted by Uvaali on

    Having travelled, the system needs to be tightened up. There is a provision where we can drink and uncover mask to eat (necessary for those with medical issues) but think of the plane cabin which is enclosed. Sounds strange but maybe we need to cover with blanket to eat or drink.

  3. Posted by Concerned on

    I am wondering how an infected person was able to board the flight. I thought a person had to provide a negative test result no more than 3 days old to board. This is very serious and should be looked into. Something is not right.

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