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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The current location of Comox Valley Search and Rescue on Moray Avenue in Courtenay. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Search and Rescue aiming to purchase a roof for their rescuers

Their goal is to raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million, approximately the purchase price of a facility

A bear is seen walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday (May 9) morning. Video screenshot/Kristie Cave
Video: Bears spotted throughout Comox Valley

Hide food sources, keep garbage away: conservation

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

Carter Woods of Cumberland won a World Cup mountain bike race Saturday… Continue reading

The flowers of Darmera peltata (Indian rhubarb) before the leaves emerge. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: Plenty of ‘wow’ factor in the garden in spring

Leslie Cox Special to The Record I can’t help it. I like… Continue reading

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

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

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read