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13 COVID-19 test swabs from Pond Inlet come back negative, says gov't

Thirteen swabs taken from people identified as in contact with Nunavut's first case of COVID-19 are negative, according to preliminary results. 

Nunavut's premier urging people not to spread rumours about how COVID-19 got into the territory

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq gives live government updates three times a week as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. (Beth Brown/CBC )

Thirteen swabs taken from people identified as having had contact with Nunavut's first case of COVID-19 are negative, according to preliminary results. 

Those 13 swabs were tested by the territory's GeneXpert machine, which is primarily used for identifying tuberculosis. A second set of swabs are still being tested in a public health lab in Ontario. 

The government is expecting those final test results on Sunday. 

There were initially 20 people identified via contact tracing, however it was decided not to test all of them. 

Missed the press conference? Watch it here.

Premier urges public to ignore rumours

Nunavut's premier is urging people not to spread rumours about how COVID-19 got into the territory or where it is currently. 

"There's a lot of rumours going around and blaming and we don't need any of that in Nunavut," said Premier Joe Savikataaq on CBC Radio's Qulliq Friday. "We are better than that." 

He urged people to rely on updates and facts from medical professionals. 

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said all confirmed cases will be announced within 24 hours of them being confirmed. 

Gov't working to find out how COVID-19 got to Pond Inlet

Patterson says the government is also working on determining how COVID-19 got to Pond Inlet. 

"If we can figure it out, we will explain how and find ways to reduce the chance of it from happening again." 

This practice will stand for all cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut: the government will name the community and say how the case appeared, if it can determine that. 

Patterson says if another case is confirmed by the team of public health nurses, it does not necessarily mean there is community transmission. He said it means nurses are doing their jobs to find and stamp out COVID-19. 

But, he says, that still means everyone in Nunavut needs to be careful. 

Every single social interaction carries a degree of risk.... It is not possible to predict where or when COVID[-19] may be detected next.- Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer

"Every single social interaction carries a degree of risk.... It is not possible to predict where or when COVID[-19] may be detected next," Patterson said. 

Right now, the net cast around the person who tested positive for contact tracing purposes is restricted to the community.

On Thursday, the territory confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet. 

At 3 p.m. ET Friday, Savikataaq and the territory's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson updated people on the case of COVID-19 in Pond Inlet. 

Patterson said at a press conference on Thursday that the government doesn't know how the person in Pond Inlet contracted COVID-19. 

As of Wednesday night 20 people in Pond Inlet were identified as part of contact tracing from the confirmed case. 

On Thursday afternoon, a rapid response team was dropped off in Pond Inlet to help do contact tracing. 

The team is made up of public health nurses who have swabs, cloth masks and other equipment. A logistics person to co-ordinate and run errands is also part of the team. 

As of Thursday, 196 people were under investigation for COVID-19 in Nunavut; 406 people have been cleared.

Clarifications

  • This story has been updated to make it more clear that though 20 people were identified as part of the contact tracing, only 13 people were tested.
    May 04, 2020 4:09 PM CT

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