Nunavut's first presumptive coronavirus case turns out to be false positive

May 5 2020, 5:36 pm

Nunavut has declared that its first presumptive COVID-19 case has been deemed a false positive.

On April 30, the territory reported its first case of the virus in Pond Inlet, a remote community on Baffin Island. The patient isolated in their home and public health workers began contact traces.

In a statement released on Monday, Nunavut Minister of Health George Hickes said that further testing and investigation of the initial result “have not shown any other evidence of COVID-19 infection in Pond Inlet.”

“As I have previously mentioned, no lab test is perfect,” said Hickes. “There is always a chance of false positive or false negative results. When interpreting results and deciding on an appropriate course of action, we consider many pieces of information, of which test results are just one piece. We always aim to err on the side of caution.”

Hickes said health officials were unable to identify exposure to COVID-19 in the patient, did not find any other cases in Pond Inlet, and did not notice an increase in “significant respiratory infections.”

“For all of the reasons above we believe that the individual in Pond Inlet does not, and never did have COVID-19. As a result, our rapid response team will stop operating in Pond Inlet and the members of the team will begin preparing for future deployments. All territorial orders under the Public Health Emergency remain in effect,” said Hickes.

Additional measures implemented in Pond Inlet as a result of the presumptive case have been lifted.

“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communities may resume, and the community-specific restrictions on businesses and services in Pond Inlet are also rescinded,” reads the statement.

Nunavut is the only province or territory in Canada with zero COVID-19 cases.