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Security guard tests positive for COVID-19 at Ottawa isolation site

26 August 2020


News Release

Security guard tests positive for COVID-19 at Ottawa isolation site

Iqaluit, Nunavut (August 26, 2020) – Ottawa Public Health has advised the Government of Nunavut (GN) that an isolation site staff member at the Residence Inn on Walkley Road in Ottawa, one of Nunavut’s isolation facilities, has tested positive for COVID-19.

“The Department of Health is working quickly with Ottawa Public Health to identify both potential contacts at the Residence Inn and any possible exposure in Nunavut,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer. “We are currently establishing what risk, if any, there is to Nunavummiut and we will begin contact tracing in territory if necessary.”

Ottawa Public Health informed the GN of the positive test on August 26 and indicated the staff member was likely infectious while working shifts on August 16, 17, 18 and 19. The GN’s Department of Health is working to identify any possible exposure between the staff member and clients who were in isolation during that time. Staff at the isolation sites are always required to wear masks while working, which would help limit the risk of transmission.

“We are discussing with Ottawa Public Health whether this positive case will require those scheduled to return home in the coming days to remain in isolation until they can be cleared as contacts and confirmed COVID-free,” said George Hickes, Minister of Health. “We will make all decisions based on the best medical advice and take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe.”

Any Nunavummiut who were in isolation between August 16 and August 19 at the Residence Inn in Ottawa and have since travelled home to Nunavut are asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is recommended that these individuals also maintain strict social distancing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Nunavummiut are reminded to practice physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and to stay home if they feel unwell. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EDT, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days.

Clients currently in isolation have been informed of the situation and outreach has begun for in-territory contacts. More information will be provided at a media update tomorrow, with details to follow.

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Media Contact:

Chris Puglia
A/Manager of Communications
Department of Health
867-975-5949
cpuglia@gov.nu.ca