Canada’s Arctic territory of Nunavut has reported its first case of COVID-19 in the Inuit community of Pond Inlet, according to territorial Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson.
Nunavut was the last jurisdiction remaining in Canada to have zero cases until Thursday.
The individual is in isolation and is doing well. All travel to and from Pond Inlet is restricted, with the exception of cargo and emergency travel. This includes travel by land, Patterson said.
“We did anticipate that it was only a matter of time before our territory had a confirmed case, and unfortunately today is that day,” said Patterson in the news release.
Premier Joe Savikataaq urged residents not to panic.
“Nunavut has had time to prepare, and we are in a solid position to manage this,” Savikataaq said in a statement. “We ask people not to place any blame, not to shame and to support communities and each other as we overcome COVID-19 in Nunavut.”
- Inuit group calls for air transportation to be designated as essential service
- First Nations may face increased risk when restrictions ease
Patterson said public health health officials in Pond Inlet, a community of about 1,600 people on the northeastern coast of Baffin Island, have begun contact tracing to find all the people who may have been in contact with the infected individual and might be at risk of being infected themselves.
In addition, a rapid reaction team of medical experts is on its way to Pond Inlet to ensure the community has all the necessary support to help manage the situation, Patterson said.
The initial investigation has shown that about 20 people have been in some type of contact with the person and have now been tested for the virus.
With files from CBC News