Nunavik declares tenth COVID-19 case in Puvirnituq
Still no community transmission, says health board
Nunavik health officials announced yesterday afternoon that another COVID-19 infection had been confirmed in Puvirnituq.
That brings the total to 11 confirmed cases in the region, one in Salluit, in a person who has now recovered, and 10 active cases in Puvirnituq.
“The individual was already in isolation and will be able to continue their isolation at home,” said Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in an online update about the latest case.
The health board said the person with the most recent case had been in “close contact” with the previously declared COVID-19 cases in that community of about 1,900.
More cases could be declared due to changes in how future infections will be confirmed.
“Nunavik has now entered a new phase when it comes to confirming the status of individuals suspected of having COVID-19,” said Marie Rochette, director of public health at the NRBHSS, in an April 13 health board release.
From now on, when someone has symptoms and has been identified as a close contact to someone with a confirmed case, that person will automatically be considered as COVID-19 positive and will not be tested, the health board said.
This is what is called a case confirmed by an “epidemiological link,” the health board said in an emailed response to questions from Nunatsiaq News.
Such a link is defined as a case of human-to-human transmission, that is, a person has had contact with a person with a confirmed case in such a way as to acquire the infection.
As for community transmission, which doesn’t necessarily mean a person who develops an infection has come in contact with an infected person, “Nunavik is not considered to be at that stage yet,” the health board said.
But the health board said, “Precautions that would apply during a community transmission stage are being applied though, to take safety a step further.”
COVID-19 testing sites will be put in place this week, the health board said, although the location of these sites was not identified.
Once these are set up, the health board will determine who will be tested and who will not be.
As of last week, the laboratories in Nunavik’s two hospitals, in Puvirnituq and Kuujjuaq, have been able to perform COVID-19 tests, “which is a significant increase of our capacity to respond swiftly and more efficiently,” the health board said.
One of the infected people in Puvirnituq remains in the Inuulitsivik hospital.
Within the 25-bed Inuulitsivik hospital, a zone has been created to accommodate patients who are considered at risk of carrying COVID-19 or have tested positive for the new coronavirus since last week, the health board said.
There is also an area where all patients considered not infected by COVID-19 continue to be treated.
“The total capacity to intervene is increased significantly,” the health board said. “All patients that were considered at risk have been transferred to external resources.”
As for personal protective equipment, or PPE, such as masks and gloves, the inventory meets the needs of the health network in Puvirnituq, the health board said.
As April 13, 13,557 positive cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Quebec.