Greenland reports 16 new COVID-19 cases, including two nursing home residents

A file photo of a woman walking in Nuuk, Greenland April 2, 2021. Greenland’s health authorities say there’s risk of community transmission in Nuuk. (Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS)

Greenland reported 16 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, two of which are nursing home residents.

Ten of the new cases, including the infections in the seniors’ residence, are in Sisimiut, a city of 5,582 on Greenland’s west coast. 

In a news release, the government said the two residents were fully vaccinated and had not gotten sick.

Three nursing home workers also tested positive for the virus.

“It’s worrying that the infection has reached the most vulnerable citizens in a seniors’ residence,” Greenland’s chief medical officer Henrik L. Hansen said.

Fortunately, the vaccination rate at the nursing home is very high, and it may prove to be of crucial importance in this situation.”  

The graph showing vaccination numbers in Greenland’s five municipalities. The blue line shows the number of people who’ve received one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. The green line shows the number of people that have had two doses. (National Board of Health)

Health authorities say they’ve been unable to trace several infection chains in the city and warned community transmission is still underway.

Infection in capital city

One of the new cases was in the capital city of Nuuk. The individual had contact with an infected person, however the origin of the initial case has not been established.

“With the recent cases we’ve seen, there’s a risk of wider societal transmission in Nuuk, just like in Sisimiut,” Hansen said

“There’s every reason to be vigilant,  Keep your distance, avoid meetings and wash your hands often.”

The five remaining cases are in the town of Upernavik and were all in the same household. 

As of Wednesday, Greenland’s National Board of Health was reporting 102 total active COVID-19 cases.

Seventy of those are located in the Qeqqata municipality in the western part of the island were Sisimiut is located. 

Write to Eilís at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Nunavut suspends travel bubble with N.W.T. following COVID-19 outbreak in Sahtu region of northern Canada, CBC News

Iceland: New COVID-19 border testing regulations coming to Iceland on August 16, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Berry firms moved harvesters from Lapland to East Finland even if exposed to, infected with COVID-19, Yle News

United States: Cruise ship arrives in Skagway, Alaska after passenger flown home with COVID-19, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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