After a false positive, Nunavut returns to having no cases of COVID-19

Tracing, monitoring and community testing helped officials decide a re-test was warranted.

By Emma Tranter, Nunatsiaq News - May 5, 2020
Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, says the case of COVID-19 announced in Pond Inlet last week has been deemed a false positive. (Nunatsiaq News file photo)

Nunavut has returned to having no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Last week’s positive case in Pond Inlet was re-tested and deemed a false positive, the Government of Nunavut announced in a news release Monday.

“We have a very comprehensive system of investigating and tracing COVID-19 in the territory to ensure checks and balances are in place. Testing is one component, and further tracing, monitoring and evaluating information helps us capture the whole picture,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said in the release.

“As there were no other positive COVID-19 tests in Pond Inlet, we decided to ask for the original swab to be re-tested and a new test be conducted in the days following Thursday’s announcement,” Patterson said.

The swabs collected through Nunavut’s rapid response team that was deployed to Pond Inlet last week also all came back negative, the release said.

Additional measures put in place specific to Pond Inlet are now lifted, the release said.

“Effective immediately, travel between Pond Inlet and other Nunavut communities may resume, and the community-specific restrictions on businesses and services in Pond Inlet are also rescinded,” the release said.

All territorial orders under the Public Health Emergency Act remain in place.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said although the news is a relief, it does not mean Nunavummiut should ease up on physical distancing, hand washing, cleaning and staying home.

“Please remain diligent in practising these measures and keeping yourself and one another well. It’s up to all of us to keep our communities safe,” Savikataaq said in the release.