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GeneXpert Covid testing a go in Rankin Inlet

People around the Kivalliq may soon find some of Nunavut’s restrictions surrounding Covid-19 eased as a result of Rankin Inlet now having a GeneXpert approved, giving Nunavut the ability to more quickly analyze Covid-19 tests.

“Covid-19 fatigue is real, but that doesn’t mean we should let down our guards or ease up on the good work we’re all doing,” says Premier Joe Savikataaq.

The announcement was made on Thursday, May 21, during which chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said in a press release that the Rankin machine – combined with a GeneXpert machine in Iqaluit – now gives the Government of Nunavut (GN) the ability to meet its in-territory diagnostic capacity.

Patterson said a nasal swab can be analyzed in less than 45 minutes by the machine, and the ability for rapid testing was a top priority in the GN’s Covid-19 response plan.

“When coupled with the fact that we still have no confirmed cases of Covid-19 inside the territory, we have now met two of our three conditions,” said Dr. Patterson.

“While the situation in southern Canada will continue to play a role in our approach moving forward, we are now in a better position to consider reducing some restrictions in the territory.”

In addition to greatly reducing its turn-around time on swab results, the GN will continue to send the Covid-19 test results to labs in the south to have them double checked.

In his address to the territory on May 21, Premier Joe Savikataaq said the GN was hoping to unveil its reopening plan to ease restrictions and measures this past week.

He said that didn’t happen because the GN was still finalizing some elements to ensure the safety and well-being of Nunavummiut, and the reopening plan will be unveiled this week.

“Covid-19 fatigue is real, but that doesn’t mean we should let down our guards or ease up on the good work we’re all doing,” said Savikataaq.

“If anything, Nunavut’s measures show that staying attentive works!

“Being tired or bored doesn’t mean this pandemic is over or that we should take it easy. I’m recommitting to working hard and staying strong.

“We all need to do this together to keep our communities safe. Let’s have each other’s backs and be responsible for one another.”