A resident of Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, has tested positive for COVID-19 in the South, the region’s health board said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) said the person would not return north to the region until they no longer risked spreading the virus.
“All significant contacts of the aforementioned individual in the South have been reached and put into isolation,” the NRBHSS said. “This person has not had any significant contact with people who are currently in Nunavik.”
The NRBHSS did not specify in their announcement whether the individual had been down South on a medical appointment, but referenced Ullivik, the Dorval residence for Nunavik residents in Montreal for health services.
“Ullivik remains a safe location for travelers seeking medical care in Montreal,” the NRBHSS said.
Montreal a COVID-19 “Red Zone”
This is the second reported case of a Nunavik resident testing positive outside of the region within the last two weeks.
In a Facebook post on September 30, the NRBHSS said they’d been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a Nunavik resident was outside of the region, and the individual wouldn’t be returning to Arctic Quebec until they were symptom free.
The NRBHSS didn’t specify that the person had been in Montreal on a medical appointment, but as with this week’s announcement, sought to reassure travellers that “Ullivik remains a safe location for travelers seeking medical care in Montreal.”
COVID-19 numbers in Quebec have increased across the province in recent weeks as the province navigates its second wave. The government implemented a COVID-19 colour-coded system at the beginning of September: The Montreal-area is currently declared a red zone, meaning “maximum alert” when it comes to COVID-19.
Nunavik remains at “yellow” or the lowest level. After a long period of being COVID free, Nunavik has reported two new cases within the last three weeks, one in Kuujjuaraapik on the Hudson Bay coast, and another case in Inukjuak, 350 km to the north.
Double testing coming next week
The NRBHSS announced on Thursday that they’d be instituting a double testing regime for travellers to Nunavik starting next week.
Nunavik has a population of approximately 13,000 people, with 14 communities in the region, all of which are fly-in only.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Finnair to end flights to five regional airports, including to Kemi, Lapland, Yle News
Denmark: Faroe Islands updates COVID-19 guidelines for travellers, Eye on the Arctic
Greenland: Greenland approves revised COVID-19 strategy, Eye on the Arctic
Iceland: Iceland to continue double screening for COVID-19 until December 1, Eye on the Arctic
Norway: Norwegians with Swedish property threaten legal action over travel restrictions, Radio Sweden
Sweden: Finland, UK to remove travel restrictions on Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: To stop coronavirus, Arctic communities took matters into their own hands. Can it last?, Blog by Mia Bennett