Nunavut returns to having no cases of COVID-19

Case declared in Pond Inlet last week was false positive

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, says the case of COVID-19 announced in Pond Inlet last week has been deemed a false positive. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

Nunavut has returned to having no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Last week’s positive case in Pond Inlet was re-tested and deemed a false positive, the Government of Nunavut announced in a news release this afternoon.

“We have a very comprehensive system of investigating and tracing COVID-19 in the territory to ensure checks and balances are in place. Testing is one component, and further tracing, monitoring and evaluating information helps us capture the whole picture,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said in the release.

“As there were no other positive COVID-19 tests in Pond Inlet, we decided to ask for the original swab to be re-tested and a new test be conducted in the days following Thursday’s announcement,” Patterson said.

The swabs collected through the GN’s rapid response team that was deployed to Pond Inlet last week also all came back negative, the release said.

Additional measures put in place specific to Pond Inlet are now lifted, the release said.

“Effective immediately, travel between Pond Inlet and other Nunavut communities may resume, and the community-specific restrictions on businesses and services in Pond Inlet are also rescinded,” the release said.

All territorial orders under the Public Health Emergency Act remain in place.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said although the news is a relief, it does not mean Nunavummiut should ease up on physical distancing, hand washing, cleaning and staying home.

“Please remain diligent in practising these measures and keeping yourself and one another well. It’s up to all of us to keep our communities safe,” Savikataaq said in the release.

More to come.

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(21) Comments:

  1. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Yay! Wonderful news, Pond Inlet I hope y’all stayed classy, like of most but not all the readers here.

  2. Posted by Wonderful on

    This is wonderful news. Hurray for Pond Inlet.

  3. Posted by I wonder… on

    This is great news… I wonder how many of the persons who directly blamed and verbally assaulted the Teachers and then the Government of Nunavut Administration will now step forward to apologize?

    • Posted by Zero on

      …although they most definitely should….

  4. Posted by TAJ on

    This is great news but also raises a question. If this test came back as a false positive how many of the tests already done came back as a false negative? And have they all been retested? Not trying to bring anyone down but just curious.

  5. Posted by CB on

    For this I am truly grateful. Thank you to our CPHO for doing such a fine job and to all health care workers, mental health carers, critical care workers, essential workers, our leaders, parents at home with their kids… all workers each day just giving their best…to everyone. Together we can get through this.

  6. Posted by Northern Fender on

    So everything has been closed for what, almost two months now with the exceptions of a few businesses. How long do we keep this going considering we have 0 cases. Perhaps we need to look at opening some things up? How long is long enough?

    • Posted by YayYaya on

      We’ll never know how badly we overreacted. But if we under reacted we’d know how badly.

      The amount of wealth in the world hasn’t changed, it just didn’t move around much. The world keeps turning.

      • Posted by john smith on

        We made the right call at the right time. You are right. But, to your point, the world keeps on turning. Isolation is not meant to go on and on and on. It is supposed to be a short term solution to flatten the curve. Flattening the curve has happened for now. It may be a measure that is needed again in the future, but now we need to look at the next phase. This isn’t only an economic problem. I agree with you that the economy – sometimes – is not the priority. However, many people need relief. On CBC National last night they did a story on how calls to domestic abuse helplines have increased 500% since the lockdown in Canada but calls to Police/RCMP have been decreasing. Well that’s scary. I have a friend – in Nunavut – who has to permanently close her business due to Covid as she has lost her clients and is unable to afford rent, despite CERB. Yes, that is an economic example, but that is also someone’s life and livelihood. We have to consider the hidden costs. And we have a responsibility to start looking at next steps. I absolutely want to keep Nunavummiut safe but you can’t and shouldn’t take a short term measure and continue to use it indefinitely at any cost.

        • Posted by Curve bender on

          Funny thing, in Nunavut at least we haven’t flattened the curve because there is no curve yet, as there are no cases. The curve has flattened elsewhere though, but that does not mean the virus is on the retreat and life will return to normal soon, only that the pace of its spread will be more manageable. Being isolated and not working does take a toll on people, mentally and financially. People are justified in raising concerns over their well being and economic survival, it’s a serious issue too and needs to be addressed at some point before too long.

  7. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Finally some good Covid-19 news, let’s just hope that it lasts until the southern provinces (looking directly at you Quebec, with glances at Ontario and Alberta) get their act together and get their infections rates down to insignificant levels.
    For those that think that now is the time to open up business, government, and society as a whole let me provide you with some facts as to why this is not the case.
    Covid-19 is lethal to those aged 80+, it is can be deadly to those aged 60 – 80 and to those with underlying health conditions. As it kills (usually) by causing pneumonia anyone who smokes is at increased risk. Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease have also been cited as additional risk factors. As for children and younger adults, it would appear that they are not as affected, but there are always exceptions, and all effects are not yet known. There has been some reports of reduced lung function in many recovered patients.
    The virus is also very contagious, can be spread by tiny droplets emitted by sneezing, coughing, talking, possibly just by breathing. It can also be spread by individuals who are asymptotic- those who look and feel well. This is what is of most concern and why there is a quarantine period for people travelling to Nunavut.
    In short, the virus may already be in Nunavut, unintentionally carried by someone who doesn’t even know that they have Covid-19. It may be spreading in your community as you read this. That’s why we need to maintain social distancing, wear masks, wash your hands and do all we can to keep it out of Nunavut, or limit it’s spread if it is here and undetected.
    This is all to buy time so that the southern provinces reduce there cases to near zero (kudos to PEI, NB) which then reduces the chance that someone will be infected and then travel to Nunavut.
    If everyone does their part the number of new infections will reduce to zero and we will be able to reopen things (with new precautions).

    • Posted by Lemon Cake on

      The point of flattening the curve was never to bring the cases down to zero, it was only to make the spread of the virus manageable. We have a long way to go yet, and it is not reasonable to dismiss the concerns people have about their livelihoods. In the end the social, political and economic implications of the coronavirus lock down may be as devastating as the health implications, the discussion around this needs to be taken seriously too.

    • Posted by Anonymous on

      I don’t know about where you are…but kids are wandering around in groups, people are clustered outside Nortmart and the Beer and Wine Store. Many GN employees still go to the office regularly. Some people are staying home – many aren’t. Maybe we should be looking at realistic messaging and options for how to reduce risk vs eliminate it completely. Harm reduction is not a new idea. Stay home to stay safe was a good way of thinking at one point, but we need to evolve our thinking. People aren’t going to stay home forever. Some won’t. Some cant. Some never did. It’s time the GN be proactive with new measures and new messaging. We need to to set a realistic standard for the next stage of this adventure – one that more people can get behind in the long term.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Lemon Cake & Anonymous, you do raise good points. Consider this though, I spotted Covid-19 as a problem back in January just from news reports, and sold most of my stocks on 03/04FEB figuring that if reports were accurate it could be a worldwide pandemic. South Korea and at least one cruise ship off Japan were making the news with large numbers of infections. Canada had a total of 5 cases of Covid-19.
        By 11MAR the first case had reached Ottawa where I currently live. I already had a good supply of food (and toilet paper). I filled the fridge and freezer the next day and hunkered down for the next 7 weeks. Canada had 113 cases of the virus.
        I went shopping again on 30APR. The world had changed and Canada had 53,207 cases. I wore a mask by the way.
        If our politicians had locked down the country like China or New Zealand in early FEB or even early MAR our number of new cases would be zero or close enough to it. The government, at all levels took half measure after half measure and we are just catching up to the virus now.
        It may not be realistic to think that we can get the infection rate down to zero, and keep it there for the long term, but once we do get it down it is much easier to keep it low. We do this by continuing social distancing, wearing face masks in public, and I mean everyone as a new normal.
        We also do it by having on the spot testing and rapid reaction teams like the GN sent to Pond Inlet. If we had not had to spend billions fighting the virus think what we could have done in building up the testing side.
        That will now need to be done. We need to increase our testing, and fast. We are flattening the infection curve, then it comes to driving the infection rate down to where it is needed, which is close to zero. Many provinces already have a single digit new infection rate, and have maintained that for over a week.
        Is it too much to ask for this to continue this for another two or three weeks so that we get this under full control? Especially as we know the alternative is a spike in cases when we are already quarantine fatigued. If Covid-19 spikes again this could continue for months, not just the weeks needed to get this under control.
        We can beat this right now and then be very vigilant until therapeutics and a vaccine are developed, or we can reopen society early and go back to where we were just a week or two ago. Either way this has changed society. I’m just advocating to give this a couple more weeks as it will save many many lives in the long run.
        If you don’t believe me just watch what happens to the United States, Brazil, and some African countries. We do not want to be like them.

  8. Posted by Difficult times on

    It is an emotional and stressful time for many and it feels like there has never been a greater need for us to come together as a territory. I read a lot of anger and hurt over the last few weeks regarding the situation with the teachers who left and went south and told to return. Many perspectives were shared along with strong opinions.
    When listening to the update today regarding the false poistive test I heard the reporter ask Joe whether he was concerned about there being a problem having enough teachers in September. His response was that he was not worried and that he heard there was a large number of teachers laid off in Ontario and he hoped they would apply. This is not the kind of passion and empathy I would expect from our leader during a time of crisis. We are all human beings that want to work in an environment where we feel appreciated and valued, not easily replaceable by someone else who was laid off or down on their luck. The comment struck me as awfully harsh in a time where we are all told we are in this together.

    • Posted by No Surprise on

      It’s interesting that the Premier would be so cavalier, especially given the routine shortages and last second scrambling that have become an annual event to coincide with the beginning of each school year. That the dim bulbs who are running the government and the department of education are unable to anticipate the longer term consequences to awful decision making should not come as a surprise to anyone who has lived here for any length of time.

      • Posted by Lemonaide on

        The Premiers comment about the teachers was a gut wrenching blow. I had to ask myself the question, why would I want to work for an organization that don’t value their employees? We all know that to be true, but I thought it was just the disfunction of Human Resources trying to get themselves sorted out. The Premier actually smirked when asked about the recruitment of teachers in the fall. His response was not about supporting our current teachers, but more about focuses on the ones that he anticipates Ontario will lay offs in the fall. That my friends is the closed minded leadership we are counting on to take us through this difficult time. Time to pack my bags!

  9. Posted by Okay on

    Great news for nunavumiuts!

  10. Posted by Sad State of Affairs on

    The Premier said, “I heard there were lay offs in Ontario… Maybe they will want to come teach in Nunavut.” WOW! How about getting the facts! The Ontario Elementary Teachers Union alone went on strike and got a deal that included a 1% raise, an increase in benefits, AND an 80+ million dollar fund to HIRE over 400 new teachers!! Although I agree that teacher recruitment is a priority, it’s vital that the GN and the Dept of Ed recognize how important teacher RETENTION is in the recruitment process! All employees desire to feel valued and respected for all the time, energy, sacrifice and passion they devote to their work. Teachers devote themselves to creating and maintaining a safe and caring environment for students so that every student can feel valued and respected. These are the conditions that allow for students to thrive and be successful. If we look at this same philosophy from a slightly larger perspective where the GN and the Dept of Ed are the classroom leaders and the teachers are the students, what kind of message is the Premier sending??

    • Posted by Heart Crushed on

      It seems we are all replaceable to the Premier. It does not matter what our qualifications are, how many years we have spent contributing to NU, learning the culture, language and investing in the people. It doesn’t matter what committees we are involved in or volunteer work we do to help support those around. A stranger from the south can do the job. I have spent many years making Nunavut my home for me and my family and I am still learning. If you think you can pick someone from anywhere in Canada and they will hit the ground running without getting to know the people then our values do not match.

      I had been a loyal supporter for the Premier but I have been made a fool to think he would show some loyalty in return.

  11. Posted by Linda E. Tranter on

    Great news for Nunavut!

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