COVID-19 returns to Rankin Inlet aboard flight from Iqaluit

Two people aboard Friday’s Canadian North flight 239 were ‘close contacts’ of patient in capital outbreak, Health Department says

Two COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Rankin Inlet Friday after two people aboard Canadian North flight 239 were determined to be ‘close contacts’ of a person in Iqaluit with the illness. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Rankin Inlet became the third Nunavut community with active COVID-19 cases, after two were confirmed in the Kivalliq region hamlet, the territory’s Health Department announced Saturday.

The two new cases bring the number of people in the territory with the respiratory illness to 41. As of Saturday, there were 35 active cases in Iqaluit, four in Kinngait and two in Rankin Inlet.

Rankin Inlet’s cases are “directly linked” to the Iqaluit outbreak, the Health Department said in a news release. The virus was transmitted in Iqaluit but identified in Rankin Inlet.

On Saturday, the Government of Nunavut issued a notice of “potential COVID-19 exposure” aimed at passengers on Canadian North’s Flight 239 on Friday. That flight left Iqaluit at 5:50 p.m., bound for Rankin Inlet and connecting to Yellowknife and Edmonton.

“The individuals were identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive case only after the flight had departed Iqaluit. Fortunately, shortly after arrival in Rankin Inlet, they were located by public health staff, tested and put in isolation,” said Dr. Patterson.

The Health Department did not say whether the people were men or women, and did not say who old they were. They are in “supported isolation” and doing well, the government news release states.

Under current public health orders, anyone who travels from Iqaluit must isolate for 14 days when they arrive in their destination.

It is the second time Rankin Inlet has faced COVID-19. It was one of four hamlets where the virus was detected in late 2020, along with Sanikiluaq, Whale Cove and Arviat. Most of those hamlets went COVID-free by January, but the Arviat outbreak hung on until March. Arviat officially celebrated becoming COVID-free with a parade of vehicles earlier this week.

Iqaluit reported its first-ever case on April 14. A few days later, on April 19, two cases were confirmed in Kinngait, which were that hamlet’s first, as well.

On Saturday, Premier Joe Savikataaq repeated his plea to Nunavummiut to follow public health measures aimed at preventing the spread of the potentially fatal disease. They include wearing masks, washing hands, physical distancing and getting vaccinated.

“Please do not take chances, please be responsible and please do your part to keep our communities safe,” Savikataaq said.

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(18) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sheer negligence on

    Wow, this seems to have been totally preventable. Wasn’t there a travel ban out of Arviat when their cases were still high? If so, why hasn’t the same been implemented for Iqaluit? And if there wasn’t a ban out of Arviat, the question is the same.

    • Posted by Yesi on

      I agree there should have been travel restrictions from Iqaluit to Rankin Inlet.
      The town has worked so hard and abided by the covid rules. Why didn’t the GN follow through own protocol? Could have been easily prevented.

      • Posted by Maligait on

        why wasn’t all contact tracing done?
        why did these 2 not say, test me please.
        why did people travel why?
        why can’t people hear the maligait to not travel unless medical?
        why why why

    • Posted by anonymous on

      I agree as well, the travel ban should have been lifted in Iqaluit when COVID-19 hit the city. I had read an article sometime ago where they canceled the mine hearing & told the representatives could leave to go, correct me if I am wrong. Now this virus is spreading, keep safe & practice distancing.

    • Posted by Follow on

      So why isn’t more testing
      Being done in Iqaluit?
      What was the results from further testing to see if this Covid is the variant?
      There are 8000 people in Iqaluit
      And no masks are worn or social distancing because I seen the FB video at liquor store last week.
      No fines given for breaking of Covid restrictions!
      Follow up Covid Team before you have a worse disaster in Iqaluit like you had in Arviat last year

  2. Posted by Concerned citizen on

    My question is when the Public Health officials approached them, did they kick everyone out of the airport first in order to be secluded so they do not transmit to others?

  3. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Okay this is getting serious, can we see a Territory wide lockdown for 2 weeks on the horizon?

    • Posted by inooya on

      It will happen. Last time it was in Rankin all other towns locked down for 14 days

  4. Posted by Bubba on

    arviat strong!

  5. Posted by Name withheld on

    Unfortunately flights from Rankin, CamBay and Iqaluit cannot be stop due to those three being Regions main port of arrival and departure as for Iqaluit being a international hub also.

    The individuals should have known enough to call the Hotline prior to boarding when they were aware of being in contact with someone who might have been expose to Covid. Ie if the contact was showing symptoms of flu like, Covid, these same symptoms have been mentioned all year, on the internet, tv and news paper . Why put everyone else on risk?

    Get a damn okay letter from CPHO to go on the plane and leave, whether you have received the vaccine or not as they know too well who are being monitored or if they are listed as contact.

    Do your part, if you or anyone might have been in contact who is sick stay home and wait it out.

    • Posted by Power Point Pen on

      You may not be able to stop them, but surely there are restrictions and protocols that can be put in place to mitigate risk. Granted, it may be impossible to eliminate that risk. I’d like to know more about the current restrictions, if there are any. I wish the article covered that.

  6. Posted by Terry on

    Iqaluit strong,Rankin strong , we need T shirts

  7. Posted by Oscare on

    Total air travel ban, except urgent medical and critical workers. Nunavut is the worse Territory for Covid-19 spread. Come on people, get with the program here.

  8. Posted by Bobby Kabluitok on

    Yea arviat-miut had to get cpho in order for passengers to get approved in order to fly out of arviat when they had covid, to pervent from this virus to spread from community to community but capital city iqaluit has speaded to 3 different communities already without cpho approval. WOW!.. something not right big time

  9. Posted by southern inuk on

    so many US states have given up on masks unless covid cases exceed 100 positive, per 100,000 tested. Take it from a southern canadian, go along with this for too long and loose your freedoms. Lockdown is not life, masks on teachers, students, and workers is tortu&e. No activities destroys mental health. Dont be soft, covid is here to stay.

  10. Posted by Update for Rankin needed on

    I hope we get an update soon on the status of our schools and daycare centers.

    • Posted by Where’s your mayor on

      Your leaders should be updating everyday like Arviat, arviat mayor updated every single day thru local radio. Your mayor should be doing that if hes not already doing that, get well soon rankinmiut dont drink too much.

      • Posted by Rankinmiut that don’t drink on

        “Rankinmiut don’t drink too much”? You should see the line ups they had for liquor in Iqaluit; no masks on, not following protocols, not social distancing. And then going visiting drinking. Not all Rankinmiut drink btw!!

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