Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after a 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut’s capital city is under a strict lockdown after its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic was reported Wednesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Trante

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after a 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut’s capital city is under a strict lockdown after its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic was reported Wednesday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Trante

‘Be prepared and not scared:’ Iqaluit locks down after reporting first COVID-19 case

Nunavut’s capital city is under a lockdown after detecting its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic

Nunavut’s capital city is under a lockdown after detecting its first case of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The infection was reported Wednesday night and on Thursday morning all schools, non-essential businesses and government offices in Iqaluit, a city of about 8,000 people, were closed.

Canadian North, Nunavut’s main airline, has said the infected individual is one of its employees in Iqaluit. The company would not comment on the employee’s role in the company.

Nunavut requires travellers to isolate for 14 days prior to entering the territory, but essential workers are exempt.

The territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said the person is an exempted worker who has been in the territory for 16 days and started showing symptoms two days ago. The person was tested Wednesday at Iqaluit’s public health centre and the positive result came back about 8 p.m.

Given the timeline, Patterson said, it’s possible the person contracted COVID-19 in Iqaluit.

“We’re not certain how it got into Iqaluit … they were already here for 13 or 14 days when the symptoms started, so it’s not certain that they brought COVID into the territory.”

It’s Nunavut’s only active case of COVID-19.

But Patterson said the city’s public-health team has identified more than 10 people as contacts with the positive case and contact tracing is ongoing.

People from other communities who had been in Iqaluit and left the city on or after April 13 are also required to isolate for 14 days.

Indoor public gatherings in the city are banned and gatherings in homes are restricted to household members plus five people.

Patterson said businesses and workplaces in Rankin Inlet and the Baffin Island region can stay open with strict social distancing. Elementary schools in those areas can remain open at full capacity, but middle schools and high schools must move to a mix of in-class and at-home learning.

The Moderna vaccine is available to all Iqaluit residents 18 and up. To date, more than 3,400 people in the city have received a first dose and 2,000 have had two doses.

Premier Joe Savikataaq urged people who hadn’t received the vaccine to get it as soon as possible.

“For months, we have been asking Nunavummiut to be prepared and not scared. Now is the time to prove that,” Savikataaq said.

Patterson said a sample of the positive test is being sent to a southern lab to analyze for variants of concern, but results likely won’t come back for a week.

A public hearing on Baffinland’s expansion of its Mary River mine being held in Iqaluit this week has also been suspended.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board said residents from other communities in town for the hearing have been asked to isolate in their hotel rooms and wait for further instructions.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

An artist’s rendering of the new emergency services building. (Photo submitted by Town of Creston)
Creston’s town council provides update on future emergency services building

Construction on the facility is expected to be complete in spring 2022

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

You can help pollinators on their quest by planting native species in your garden. (Pixabay)
E-Tips: Hello from the Creston Climate Action Society

Welcome to the first official E-Tips column

On April 27, town officials gathered at 1505 Cook Street to break ground at the site for the new emergency services building. From left to right: Councillor Arnold DeBoon, Mayor Ron Toyota, Councillor Joanna Wilson, Assistant Fire Chief Laura Dodman, Councillor Jen Comer, and Councillor Jim Elford. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Breaking ground for the new Creston Emergency Services Building

On April 27, town officials gathered at the construction site with shovels ceremoniously in hand

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Letters to the Editor. (Black Press file photo)
Letter to the Editor: Petition on Proposed RDCK Bylaw Amendments

“If these proposed bylaw amendments are implemented, the Trails Society may be forced to close Riverside Wilderness Park to public access.”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read