2 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Rankin Inlet, linked to Iqaluit outbreak

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A Canadian North plane in July 2019. Two people on one of the airline's flights on Friday were identified as contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case after they were in the air, on their way from Iqaluit to Rankin Inlet, said public health. (Jordan Konek/CBC - image credit)
A Canadian North plane in July 2019. Two people on one of the airline's flights on Friday were identified as contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case after they were in the air, on their way from Iqaluit to Rankin Inlet, said public health. (Jordan Konek/CBC - image credit)

There are now two cases of COVID-19 in Rankin Inlet, linked to the outbreak in Iqaluit, according to Nunavut's public health officer.

In a statement issued Saturday morning, public health said both individuals landed in the community Friday night on Canadian North Flight 239.

"The individuals were identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive case only after the flight had departed Iqaluit," said Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, in the release. "Fortunately, shortly after arrival in Rankin Inlet, they were located by public health staff, tested, and put in isolation."

Patterson said there is currently "very low risk" to residents in Rankin Inlet. He said that's because the virus was transmitted in Iqaluit and identified in Rankin Inlet.

Potential exposure on flight to Rankin Inlet

Public health has issued a potential exposure notice to anyone who boarded Canadian North Flight 239, from Iqaluit at 5:50 p.m. EDT with service to Rankin Inlet and with connecting to Yellowknife and Edmonton on Friday, April 23.

According to the statement, anyone who boarded Flight 239 in Yellowknife or Rankin Inlet is not considered to be at risk. Anyone traveling from Iqaluit, however, must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in their community, said public health.

There are now 41 active cases in the territory. There are five new cases in Iqaluit and three recoveries, according to public health data, which means there are a total of 35 cases there. The number of cases in Kinngait is unchanged since Friday, for a total of four.

"Nunavummit, now more than ever, I encourage everyone to strictly follow the public health measures in place," said Premier Joe Savikataaq, in the same statement. "Please do not take chances, please be responsible and please do your part to keep our communities safe."