Nunavik confirms new COVID-19 case in Inukjuak, another outside the region
Quebec health authorities raise alert level for region
(Updated on Sept. 30, 1 p.m.)
Nunavik health authorities have confirmed a new case of COVID-19 in Inukjuak.
The individual was likely infected in the south, but only tested positive on their return to the North, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services said in a Sept. 29 news release.
“The person is in isolation and had not been in significant contact with people in the community or with anyone else in Nunavik,” the health board said. “We have no evidence of circulation of the virus in the community at the moment.”
Inukjuak saw one other isolated case of the virus in April. The newest case brings the region’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 19.
As well, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, health officials said another Nunavik resident tested positive for COVID-19 while staying outside the region. The health board did not indicate where the individual was staying but said that Nunavik’s Montreal-based patient residence, Ullivik, “remains a safe location for travellers seeking medical care in Montreal.”
That individual will only return to the region when they no longer pose a risk for spreading the virus, the health board said.
The health board said quick intervention is key to stopping any potential spread.
Nunavik public health authorities say there have been no further cases of COVID-19 in Kuujjuaraapik, where one case was confirmed on Sept. 22.
That individual was also infected in the south and then came into contact with a small group of people upon their return north, the health board said last week.
“From the information we have from the investigation, there is no COVID-19 circulation in the community,” the health board said on Sept. 29.
Earlier this month, public health officials learned of an exposure in Kangirsuk, and moved to place people at risk into isolation right away until the risk of spread had passed. There were no confirmed cases in that community.
As the number of COVID-19 cases grows across southern Quebec, the province has assigned varying levels of alert to different regions.
Montreal and a handful of surrounding regions have moved into Level 4, the maximum alert, which prohibits indoor visits with non-household members and private gatherings and closes restaurant dining rooms and bars.
This week, the province opted to move Nunavik from a Level 1-Vigilance zone to a Level 2-Early Warning zone.
That level of alert does not mean there are any new restrictions in place, but emphasizes standard precautions.
Nunavimmiut should continue to wash their hands, keep a two-metre distance from others and wear a mask in public, the health board said.
Anyone who spends time outside the region, whether it be for a medical appointment, for work or for vacation, must observe a 14-day quarantine.
And anyone who notices symptoms consistent with COVID-19, like fever, unusual cough, difficulty breathing or the loss of taste or smell, should call their local health centre to arrange to be tested.
The health board says it’s working with its public health department to prepare a plan in case of a second outbreak of COVID-19 in Nunavik.
The plan is to set up a mobile hospital in the gymnasium of the Kuujjuaq Forum, but the health board has yet to releases details of any community-based measures.
“Only in the event of COVID cases, activities would be suspended as all public places will have to be closed again as was the situation during the last COVID outbreaks in Nunavik,” the health board said.