Iqaluit’s first COVID-19 case is a Canadian North employee, airline confirms

‘We are cooperating fully with the public health team,’ company spokesman says

A Canadian North employee is the first positive COVID-19 case declared in Iqaluit, the airline said. (Photo courtesy of Canadian North)

By Jane George

Canadian North says the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 in Iqaluit.

“We are cooperating fully with the public health team and assisting in and supporting their efforts to identify anyone who may have had close contact with the individual,” said Kevin Kablutsiak, Canadian North’s manager of communications, in a statement to Nunatsiaq News.

Kablutsiak said all safety protocols and COVID-19 measures, including wearing face masks, physical distancing and regularly sanitizing work areas, continue to be followed by the airline.

“With the immediate and comprehensive contact tracing being undertaken by Nunavut’s Department of Health and our strict safety protocols in place, our customers can rest assured that our facilities are safe and our essential services remain open,” Kablutsiak said.

More than a dozen flights are expected to land and take off from the Iqaluit airport today.

“No passenger flights have been impacted so far,” Kablutsiak told Nunatsiaq News.

But all freight flights outbound from Iqaluit and one inbound from Ottawa have been cancelled for today, he said.

Kablutsiak said customers who need to make changes to existing flight reservations should contact the airline.

“We expect to be handling a large number of phone calls and ask for your patience as we work through these requests,” he said.

And he also said there could be “temporary delays or disruptions” in processing cargo shipments to and from Iqaluit.

But he said the airline would prioritize food, medical supplies and other essential goods.

Canadian North has asked customers to send only essential shipments to and from Iqaluit at this time.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Terrible Protocol on

    Essential workers like this are not tested or monitored at all? Fly up and are told to please no go out in public wow.

    • Posted by Devils Advocate on

      They obviously have been doing something right if this is their FIRST case. Beyond that – it’s not stated in this article how and where this iindividual contracted virus – probably because not yet known. Reminder that – last summer, in NYC, mayor had to release info that 2/3 of their new cases (at that time) were those that had ‘sheltered (stayed) at home’ —

      • Posted by Angels Advocate on

        Very simple question: do Canadian North cargo workers, nurses, Rcmp, and other essential workers need to do testing once they have arrived in Iqaluit several times over a two week period? Some say the answer is no but it would be good to get an official answers from CPHO.

        • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

          have you considered that the Canadian North employee may not even be “patient zero”?

          • Posted by Yup on

            Someone is patient zero. If it is an essential worker then the answer to the question is important.
            If essential workers are not tested daily or every few days after they arrive then Dr. Patterson shoild resign for allowing such a huge gap in protections. But no one seems to know if testing is mandatory for all essential workers skipping the hub or not.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      The guy started having symptoms 16-17 days AFTER he arrived in Iqaluit. This is very likeoy not a case of a southern worker bringing the virus into the territory. More probably he contracted it here in town. There is a very high likelihood that he isn’t “patient zero,”.

  2. Posted by Essential pass on

    Dr Patterson stated in today’s update that it’s likely the virus was contacted in Iqaluit, not from south, and that the virus may have already been in the community. Basically pointing to the isolation hubs being the possible reason for this virus reaching Iqaluit. It seems he is not at all concerned about that tiny crack the essential workers have of possibly spreading virus into Nunavut. This is concerning. It’s time to re-think the free pass of some of the essential workers.

    • Posted by John on

      Here come , all the arm chair experts and their 2cents.

    • Posted by Baffin on

      Listen to this
      Essential workers come from South and no masks are being
      Used in the North,relaxed
      Practices because Everyone thinks the Pandemic is over?
      Wrong and if you want to see
      Turn your cell phones on to News channels.
      Wear masks and self distancing
      No crowds indoors
      Also it would be great
      If the Essential could have COVID testing before entry into Nunavut!
      Plus the same for Vaccines x2
      But that also should be advised and encouraged for all to get their vaccines x2

  3. Posted by Dr who on

    GN start testing more, especially for the ones that don’t isolate before coming up here. Give us a better chance at this.

  4. Posted by Sam on

    One circus stops BIM,another one starts covid in Iqaluit , never a dull moment.

  5. Posted by MONICA A CONNOLLY on

    Essential pass, as I understood him, Dr. Patterson said it was possible, not probable, that the victim contracted the disease in Iqaluit, since they had been here close to fourteen days when they came down with it.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      I’m really hoping that your choice of the word – “victim” was just an innocent error.
      Maybe “person”, “employee”, “Canadian North employee”, any of these would have been more appropriate.
      In my reading of the article I believe that Dr. Patterson says it is possible that the person was infected in Iqaluit. I did not see where he indicated that it was “possible, not probable” that the person was infected in Iqaluit.
      I an not a doctor but my understanding is that the incubation period is 1 to 14 days with the median being 5 to 6 days (Govt of Canada website), therefore the person was likely infected in Iqaluit.
      Studying the pandemic over the last year it appears that many, and maybe most cases are being caused by asymptomatic people spreading the virus. Unless you treat everyone as if they have the zombie plague it may be tough to avoid.
      Stay safe Iqaluit. Mask, distance, disinfect.

  6. Posted by The Obvious on

    From what I can understand, the Canadian North cargo employees do not have to self isolate for 14 days upon arrival to Iqaluit. They are expected to only go to work and back the their accommodation.

    Who’s not to say that this person didn’t get infected from another Cargo employee who they are in regular close contact with? Yes, it’s likely this person contract the virus after hey arrived to Iqaluit but the most likely scenario is that they contracted it form another coworker who didn’t self isolate from the south.

    Not to mention these employees are also in close contact with the public every day when they go to drop off cargo boxes for shipment.

    • Posted by Concerned on

      Bingo, and this brings up the concern as to why cargo is not being considered as a public concern for the same dates. If not there then the airport? The staff either had to be flight crew, maintenance or cargo as the counter staff are local and do not fly on rotation.
      If they have been concerned about spread since April 8th at the storehouse then shouldn’t the employees places of work be of concern? 70 people currently of interest today. I sure hope that is not 70 more positive cases tomorrow.

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