Guard tests positive for COVID-19 at Ottawa isolation hub for returning Nunavut residents

Nunavummiut who stayed at the Residence Inn from Aug. 16 to 19 should monitor for symptoms

George Hickes, Nunavut’s minister of health, will hold a news conference tomorrow to give more information about a COVID-19 case at an Ottawa hotel used as an isolation hub for residents returning to Nunavut. (File photo)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A security guard at one of the Ottawa hotels used by the Government of Nunavut as an isolation hub for returning residents has tested positive for COVID-19.

The guard tested positive on Wednesday, Aug. 26, and was likely infectious while working at the Residence Inn on Walkley Rd. last week.

Nunavummiut who were at the hotel on Aug. 16, 17, 18 or 19 and are now back in Nunavut should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, and they should isolate at home as much as possible for 14 days, the Government of Nunavut said in a news release.

Nunavut’s public health office sent out the news release on Wednesday evening, saying Ottawa Public Health advised them of the positive case.

The Government of Nunavut is working with Ottawa’s public health office to decide whether Nunavummiut at the hotel who are scheduled to return home should remain in quarantine until “they can be cleared as contacts and confirmed COVID-19 free,” Health Minister George Hickes said in the release.

At least some Nunavummiut whose flights were scheduled to leave tomorrow have been advised by nurses that their flight has been delayed until Sunday.

Nunavut’s Health Department is working with Ottawa Public Health to “identify both potential contacts at the hotel, and any possible exposure in Nunavut,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, in the news release.

Staff in the hotel have been asked to wear masks while working, and Patterson said this will have helped to limit spread.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

There will be a news conference tomorrow.

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(25) Comments:

  1. Posted by concerned mama on

    Think of all the teachers and students that have come back on flights the past couple of weeks. Students go back tuesday back it only takes one teacher or student to spread the virus.

  2. Posted by Rules not regulated on

    I am reading several comments on social media where people state their experiences of guards not following the rules.

    Social distancing is not being practiced and they are mixing people together in very different stages of quarantine. What is the point of that? They also mix with essential workers who have not isolated.

    I read a comment how a nurse got in an argument with a guard about not covering his nose and the guard talked back to her and didn’t listen. Check out Facebook and you will see these experiences.

    Government officials should reach out to these people staying there having these experiences and then use that knowledge to get these hubs in order.

    Thoughts on this?

    • Posted by Why u dum on

      Government officials are to busy trying cover their ass, and find ways to get out of doing quarantine.

  3. Posted by Done. on

    It has been over 180 days since this started. What has the department of health and Dr. Patterson done in territory to prepare for the eventuality of COVID-19? Nothing. “Isolate as much as possible”. They have no plans or contingencies. It is really pathetic that all efforts have been made to violate Charter rights for nothing. Millions of dollars this government cannot afford for planes and hotels and no contingency plans in territory. What a failure this has a been. I have no more faith in any of them. It will come, it will kill, and these fools thought a hotel quarantine with mixing new and old arrivals and security guards would work. Sure but MLAs can go south too and the premier with his plan. This place is such a joke when you really boil it down.

    • Posted by K on

      Contingencies have been put in palace, but unless you have a few billion dollars to donate to stick hospitals, labs, personnel, testing equipment and so on into each community, there’s a limit to how much can be done and travel restrictions are still the best option.

      • Posted by I have $50 million on

        I have $50 milllion the GN has burned on hubs and airplanes by year end. With that I just tripled the beds at the QGH.
        Nothing had changed. Ask anyone working in health what measures are in place. Nothing has been done.

    • Posted by Mobility Rights on

      Please quote the section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that is being violated due to the quarantine rules. If you find it, I’ll give you $1000.

      • Posted by $1000 on

        You know very well that section 6 is being violated. The question is whether it can be upheld. That is being tested.
        Nunavut is the only jurisdiction restricting non residents from entering. There is no justification for that other than they don’t want to pay for hub isolation. That is illegal.
        Please send the $1000 you owe me to the Civil Liberties Association on behalf of Dr. Patterson.

        • Posted by Mobility Rights on

          Here we go. Section 6 of the Charter:
          “6.(1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
          (2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right:
          to move to and take up residence in any province; and
          to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
          (3) The rights specified in section (2) are subject to:
          any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and
          any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services.
          (4) Sections (2) and (3) do not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration in a province of conditions of individuals in that province who are socially or economically disadvantaged if the rate of employment in that province is below the rate of employment in Canada.”
          Now tell me what the violation is.

          • Posted by Spelling It out on

            I cannot move to Nunavut because of the restrictions against non-residents and I cannot pursue my livelihood there as I am not “essential”. I am therefore discriminated against by this as a non-resident. Breach.
            Let’s add in s. 7 as well. When there are minimally impairing options like home quarantine available it is a further breach of my life liberty and security of the person.

            • Posted by Mobility Rights on

              You can move to Nunavut to pursue your livelihood if you get a job here. You can apply for GN jobs, federal jobs, Northern jobs, Co-op jobs, construction jobs, restaurant jobs, pretty much any kind of job, online. And if you get a job, then you can come here after your two-week quarantine.
              I will admit that there might be a breach on the non-residents prohibition, although it’s very possible due that the prohibition may pass the Oakes Test for the reason above. My comments have always meant to be in reference to the quarantine for residents, which is what the “violation” posters are always complaining about. They say, “all efforts have been made to violate Charter rights for nothing. Millions of dollars this government cannot afford for planes and hotels”. He’s referring to the re-entry quarantine, which does not violate the Charter.
              As for Section 7, I think 2 weeks in a hotel in a hotel that is paid for with meals provided is minimal impairment. We’ve all seen the issues of people not being able to quarantine properly in supervised hotels, yet you think everybody would quarantine properly unsupervised at home? Not a chance. There is a pressing and substantial objective, the means are proportional, they are rationally connected to the objective, and there is a minimal impairment of rights in order to accomplish the objective.

            • Posted by Spelt out on

              @spelling it out There is nothing stopping people from moving or taking a job in Nunavut. There are new teachers who have just arrived. Their charter rights weren’t violated.

              What happens when your section 7 rights start to infringe on my own personal enjoyment and good health? Give it up, you’re wrong.

  4. Posted by Possible contagous people here without symptoms? on

    Iqaluit med travel and teachers and workers was staying at hotel during outbreak. exposed people been coming back for last 5-10 days. not sending kids to school. danger. need to wait a month to see if infection showing up

  5. Posted by Qikiqtarjuaq dea closed school on

    just saw on facebook. ima realy serious. good job dea

  6. Posted by Shawn on

    I am one of these people that was in isolation that time . What I could see everyone wore mask and social distancing was happening . So I hope we are safe because we tryied our best all summer to avoid this and we stayed safe . It just should be better way of doing this because some of it never made sense like blocking out seats in airport in Iqaluit then filling the plane . Money over lives .

  7. Posted by Pauline Alainga on

    I witnessed a security guard sneezing into a air conditioner blowing into the hall way at Residence Inn when I was there in May and, when I told the nurse and the staff, the response was he was just having allergies lol! He then got moved from 6th floor to another floor where he was disrespecting the Inuit and, treating us like garbage.
    This does not surprise me at all where a guard tested positive because, they are in and out of the building when, they should be staying in that hotel. I would see their families even coming into the hotel to bring the guard food and, not even wearing a mask at all. Guards were also never wearing a mask but we had to lol! Our Government of Nunavut should have used the military base up here in Iqaluit for quarantine and keep the money within the Nunavut and not in Ottawa or in Manitoba. I don’t think they really thought hard about all this because they were just rushing and freaking out and, this is why this is this way now sad.

    • Posted by Patience and Understanding on

      I saw disrespect working both ways. I saw Inuit mocking the accents of the guards. Sadly that tells you much about their character. I have no doubt that they would not accept mocking of their accents.

      I also watched Inuit completely and repeatedly ignore politely delivered and reasonable questions and instructions from guards.

      I also watched guards operate with great patience dealing with drunk screaming medical travellers from Nunavut’s rural regions in the parking lot. Great patience and a softly softly approach – very nice to see.

      All things considered, the guards mostly operated with great patience and understanding. I’m sure that there were incidents, but I can’t believe that they were the norm.

    • Posted by Government needs to listen to this on

      Stories like this need to come out more. Guards disrespecting Inuit. The distancing and masks not being used. This is ridiculous. Yes a temp shelter could have been set up for less money. Or maybe guards could be Inuit staff or Nunavummiut only. They could be flown in and live in hotels. This needs to be watched and regulated. This is not a show and gov is making it seem like one. Sorry you were not listened too. It’s ridiculous.

      • Posted by Not Realistic on

        And how many Ontario licensed guards are there in Nunavut? I’m going to guess zero.

        How long would it take to recruit these guards, screen them, and then provide them with the training so that they could get Ontario certified?

        Get back to me in a year or two and you might start to have enough staff to work one shift

      • Posted by Reality Land on

        Let’s hear more stories about Inuit disrespecting guards too, just to be fair right?

  8. Posted by Can these rapid testing machines be considered on

    Lexagene Holdings has developed MiQlab for an hour Covid-19 testing result. This is a Canadian Company that the Government of Nunavut should know about. These tests could possible be available by the end of September. I think it would be worth the look.

    • Posted by Abbot just came up with a 15min fda approved emergency covid 19 testing on

      Abbot laboratories just came up with a 15min FDA approved emergency covid 19 testing

  9. Posted by Jim on

    I visited a Iso hotel. Was allowed to go out in public fresh air space and view where detainees were walking around freely with no controls in place. Most of them weren’t wearing masks. There easily 20 people out there & maybe 4 security staff. There were prob 8 security staff in hotel lobby and one outside front door of hotel having a cig break. Maybe food handling, delivery and the rooms are superior quality. I don’t know. Maybe NU govt needs to create Iso bubble environment like nhl & nba.

    • Posted by Seriously?? on

      Detainees? Seriously?! Nobody was a detainee and was free to leave at any time. No one has any authority to stop them. The security guards and hotel staff most definitely don’t.

      • Posted by Jim on

        Sorry didn’t mean to upset your sensitivities. Replace with ‘interrupted Nunavummiut travellers’ ✈

Comments are closed.