A passenger on a flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit twice has tested negative for COVID-19, after initially receiving a positive test result after takeoff. The first results have since been deemed a false positive. (File photo)

Iqaluit-bound passenger a false positive, Nunavut’s top doc says

Passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa tests negative twice in Iqaluit

By Mélanie Ritchot

A Canadian North passenger who flew into Iqaluit has tested negative twice for COVID-19, the chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said this afternoon.

This means an earlier positive result, from a test administered in Ottawa on Jan. 18, prior to the passenger’s arrival in Iqaluit, was a false positive, Patterson said.

That false result didn’t come back until after the flight had departed Ottawa for Iqaluit.

But after the passengers arrival, two subsequent tests produced negative results.

All passengers aboard the flight, which arrived around 12:30 p.m., have been cleared by public health workers.

The passenger had been on what the Health Department calls “expedited medical travel,” which started on Jan. 17.

Upon their arrival in Iqaluit, the passenger was taken to Qikiqtani General Hospital to isolate pending the follow-up tests

All passengers were required to stay on the secure side of the airport until after the negative test results came back.

“I would like to thank the passengers for their cooperation and patience, and our staff who continue to work tirelessly,” Patterson said.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Irresponsible!! on

    Very irresponsible of the GN. The passenger was waiting test results and should not have been allowed to board that plane until the results were confirmed! Stop trying to sidestep protocol!! Now every passenger is stuck in limbo waiting to see what is next!!

  2. Posted by true dat! on

    This expedited medical travel program needs to stop. GN seems to think the virus cherry picks who gets the virus. if a medical traveler can be tested and released back home within a week or less, why can’t those who sit in the isolation hubs be on the same program. makes no sense that those in the hubs are tested but still needs to sit for the full 2 week quarantine. Dr Paterson CANNOT give a straight answer for this, he keeps repeating we dont know enough about the virus to modify quarantine, blah, blah blah. But expedited medical travelers are allowed!

    • Posted by Tru doh on

      More like Patterson WILL NOT give a straight answer. It is funny to see that they planned to have all other passenger self isolate here at home in Iqaluit. Wasn’t that supposed to be impossible because they can’t do enforcement? I guess they didn’t feel comfortable sending everyone back to Ottawa.
      Next, why would anyone else besides other essentials need to self isolate? They have said for months that essential travellers like this are supposed to be separately seated from everyone else who quarantined. It looks like THEY DO NOT DO THIS ON THE PLANE.
      These people are clueless. If this was anywhere else the media would eat them alive
      Have we now vaccinated another 30 people territory wide today? I guess I can expect my vaccine by 2022. Meanwhile send up more people pending testing.

  3. Posted by Tests for all is a must on

    If the traveler did not deviate from the program they should have gone from isolation center to hospital to isolation center… in that short time and exposure to others in the south Covid was transmitted…. then we do have a problem.

    All travelers need to be tested and until results report back no travel back to Nunavut and from the sounds of it there has to be multiple tests to assure the first is correct.

    we got lucky here as second and third test proved negative ( 3 times to get right result ???) ….what if it was positive 100 plus people now could be spreading the virus or be infected…and the results could be devastating even deadly for some.

    stay safe wear – your mask- get vaccinated if you can.

  4. Posted by Iqaluit Mom on

    Wait wait wait….. you can get an accurate Covid test within 24 hrs in Iqaluit now?

  5. Posted by Customer on

    Did anyone see that guy at Northmart that bought 7 packages of kirkland 40 roll toilet paper. This is why there was no toilet paper in April.
    Joking aside. People who have not received a negative test should not be permitted on the flight. This person should have waited another day for the results.
    Why was the plane not turned around. As if Iqaluit has the capacity to isolate 100+ people.

    • Posted by fyth on

      When the test result came out and they tried to track the passenger it was only 30mins left til arrival in YFB no fuel to turn around to YOW at all.

      • Posted by Common sense on

        Common sense seems to be lacking here, if the persons test results were not known then the person should not have been at the airport until they got the results back. The people that were in quarantine for 14 days would have been around with this person that is waiting for the test results, if this person had actually tested positive all these people on the flight would have been at risk of being exposed on the three hour flight plus being in the same vehicle to the airport and waiting at the airport to board the plane.
        Very irresponsible of the GN, what protocols does the GN have with testing and waiting for the results? How can this person be at the airport waiting to board and board the plane without getting the test results back?
        I hope this does not happen again because next time we may not be as lucky. We have been lucky so far but better procedures should be in place for the GN so this does not happen again.

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