Nunavut's rapid response team sent to Sanikiluaq after COVID-19 case confirmed

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The Nunavut government flew a rapid response team to Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, on Saturday after a case of COVID-19 — the territory's first — was confirmed there on Friday.

The team, consisting of one nurse and one technician, was sent to "support staff in the community," Cate Macleod, press secretary to the premier, said in an email on Saturday.

On Friday, Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said the rapid response team was "on standby to help manage the situation should it become necessary."

Travel to and from Sanikiluaq has been restricted to cargo and emergencies since noon on Friday.

However, also on Friday, a plane was chartered by the Legislative Assembly to fly Allan Rumbolt, the MLA for Hudson Bay, home after the legislature's fall sitting, said MacLeod.

"The Department of Community and Government Services took advantage of the open seats to send the minister [Lorne Kusugak] and some staff down to meet with the mayor and council," MacLeod said.

She said as soon as the chief public health officer became aware of the positive COVID-19 case in Sanikiluaq, a community of about 900 people, "actions were taken" to ensure the minister and the staff on board "returned immediately" to Iqaluit.

Patterson did, however, allow Rumbolt to disembark in his home community, said MacLeod.

It is still unclear how the person in Sanikiluaq contracted the virus. The territory said on Friday that the person and their family were in isolation and doing well.