Nunavut health officials confirm case of COVID-19 at Winnipeg isolation hub

Nunavut's chief public health officer announced a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at an isolation hub in Winnipeg, a day after confirming a second positive case in Sanikiluaq.

Individual is doing well, isolated in their hotel room

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, confirmed there is a case of COVID-19 at a Winnipeg isolation hub in a press conference on Monday. (Beth Brown/CBC )

Nunavut's chief public health officer confirmed a case of COVID-19 at one of the territory's isolation hubs in Winnipeg, a day after confirming a second positive case in Sanikiluaq. 

The Winnipeg case was confirmed on Sunday. The person is presumed to have contracted the virus before entering isolation, Dr. Michael Patterson said at a press conference Monday. The individual is doing well and is isolating in their hotel room. 

Patterson said there are a number of steps being taken to minimize the exposure to COVID-19 at the isolation hubs. 

Staff are being screened for symptoms of COVID-19 at the beginning of each shift, are expected to wear masks while at work, and maintain distancing from each other and those in isolation at all times. 

Right now, the government of Nunavut has not identified anyone who needs to stay in the hub any longer as a result of the positive case in Winnipeg. The city's public health department is currently in charge of contact tracing at the hotel. 

Second case of COVID-19 in Sanikiluaq

Patterson also provided an update on a seoncd case of COVID-19 in Sanikiluaq.

The case was announced on Sunday. The individual is in the same household as the community's first positive case, identified Friday.

A second case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the community of Sanikiluaq over the weekend. (Google Canada)

A rapid response team consisting of a nurse and technician was sent to the community Saturday. Patterson said another nurse will be deployed to the community Monday.

The team was sent to speed up the contact tracing process, so the restrictions on Sanikiluaq can be lifted as quickly as is reasonable, he said. 

School are closed along with non-essential businesses, public gatherings of no more than five are restricted, grocery stores are operating at reduce hours and customers must wear masks while shopping.

While there is no evidence at this time of community transmission, at least 11 others in the hamlet have been identified as contacts and have been asked to isolate in their homes. 

All of the high risk contacts identified are in Sanikiluaq at the moment. Some people did leave the community on the day the first person developed symptoms, Patterson said. 

Those people had no or low-risk contact with the individual and have only been asked to self-monitor, he added. 

Testing done in Nunavut

Tests done as part of the contact tracing are now being completed in Nunavut, as opposed to Winnipeg, so that the territory's government can control the turnaround time, Patterson said. 

Some people in southern isolation hubs waiting to return to Sanikiluaq could be able to return as early as Tuesday, he said. 

There is currently no wait time to get into isolation hubs in Winnipeg as a result of these travel delays. The medical travel isolation hub is full, but a second hotel contracted by the government still has space and is accepting new reservations.

Missed the press coference? Watch it here:

Staff face abuse

In Nunavut, Patterson said health-care staff have faced verbal abuse since the territory's first case of COVID-19. 

Patterson said he understands that there is worry about individuals who don't isolate before coming to the territory. But he said there are strict guidelines in place to ensure the safety of Nunavummiut, and the government has weighed the risks and believes there is more harm if it does not quickly bring in some essential staff.