CPHO announces presumptive case of COVID-19 in Inuvik

The announcement comes after hours of silence when public health's communications team retracted an initial announcement of a confirmed positive case in the community.

A digital recreation of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

Updated Oct. 27, 6:45 p.m.

Public health officials have announced a presumptive case of COVID-19 in Inuvik, bringing the community’s total to three, if confirmed.

Officials say the latest case is related to the one announced a week ago; there is no risk to the public as the individual has been self-isolating since returning from travel.

The announcement comes hours after the communications team retracted an initial announcement of a confirmed positive case in the community.

Around 2:20 p.m. a spokesperson for the chief public health officer, emailed a press release stating there is another confirmed COVID-19 case in the town.

The release said the case was connected to the other active case in Inuvik, related to travel and there does not appear to be a risk of community transmission.

Approximately 20 minutes later, a follow-up email was sent from the spokesperson saying the previous email should be disregarded and deleted.

No further details were provided including whether there was another active case in the community.

The communications team remained quiet for nearly four hours despite requests for additional details.

Tuesday evening’s advisory reads, “Our office recalled a public health advisory today which was distributed in-error. It was distributed after being prepared in anticipation of an imminent confirmatory result, and an internal communication breakdown resulted in it being approved for distribution. We are committed to doing right by residents of the Northwest Territories by providing timely, clear, and accurate communications. In this instance, we failed. We deeply apologize for the confusion this has caused.”

If this latest case is confirmed, the NWT would have 10 total cases of COVID-19. For now, the sole active case is a worker at Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine; all prior cases have recovered.

With files from Francis Tessier-Burns.

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Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com