COVID-19 in Rankin Inlet waste water an ‘unexpected’ sign, Nunavut government says
Test results from mid-August could signal virus’ presence in hamlet, public health official says
COVID-19 has been detected in waste water in Rankin Inlet, the Government of Nunavut reported Friday.
Dr. Rosann Seviour, Nunavut’s acting chief public health officer, called the test results “unexpected signals” that could mean there are people who have the potentially fatal respiratory virus in Rankin Inlet or who have travelled through the hamlet recently and are unaware of the infection.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rankin Inlet, she said in a news release.
Throughout the pandemic, testing waste water in communities has been a method that public health departments across the country have used to help detect the presence of COVID-19 in communities.
Signs of COVID-19 were identified in waste water samples collected in the hamlet on Aug. 17, 18 and 19. Those samples were sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for testing. Results can take up to 10 days to be reported, the release explained.
Nunavut’s Health Department is monitoring the situation and has increased the frequency of tests.
The Health Department called on Rankin Inlet residents to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by staying home when they feel sick, wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces and limiting in-house gatherings.