When Nunavut’s initial case of Covid-19, which turned out to be a false positive, was detected on April 29, a rapid response team was deployed to Pond Inlet within 24 hours.
The rapid response team’s first attempt at initiating containment measures and assisting with contact tracing in Pond Inlet after was “good,” but there was “a little bit of confusion and uproar,” admitted David Stockley, chief administrative officer (CAO).
There was “probably a little bit of panic” and “some frustration” because the team had closed both grocery stores in the community on April 30, said Stockley.
On May 1, when both stores reopened, there were lineups outside of 25 to 30 people at each location, said Stockley. There was an individual at each store to limit 10 to 15 people within the retail location at one time and also to ensure people were wearing masks, according to him.
The CAO said it would have been “a lot better” for the rapid response team to give directions about health safety measures to the store employees instead of closing the stores.
The stores were already “following probably 90 per cent of all the directions anyway,” he said, referring to social distancing measures that have been in place for several weeks now.
Aside from the stores temporarily closing, there have not been any big concerns, said Stockley. People have been understanding about the false positive result, he added.
It’s a “huge relief” and everyone is “so happy” that there is no Covid-19 in the community. People are “very glad” for the community, territory and for the family involved in this situation.
“A lot of people went out to their home just to touch base with them,” said Stockley, referring to the family of the individual, who turned out to be a false positive case.
The CAO said he is not aware of anyone harassing the family.
“The residents of Pond Inlet did a great job,” added Stockley.
He also praised chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson for doing a “fantastic” job with putting the 14-day self-isolation order in place. Since March 25, all residents of Nunavut, except critical workers, have been self-isolating for two weeks in hotels in the south before entering the territory.
“I think that’s solving lot of problems for Nunavut,” said Stockley, referring to the order.
Despite there being no cases in Pond Inlet currently, the community is planning to continue following all social distancing protocols encouraged by Patterson.
“We’re very thankful that this ended up to be a false positive, but I think the people realize … this could very well happen. We know definitely now what we have to do to ensure that it doesn’t spread,” said Stockley.