Plane redirected after flight crew notified of COVID-19 positive passenger
Tim Brody - Editor
A North Star Air plane operating a medical charter from Sioux Lookout to Sachigo Lake on June 30 was redirected back to Sioux Lookout after the flight crew was notified a passenger had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a new release, North Star Air informed, “North Star Air received a phone call from a Sachigo Lake Councilor around 10pm CT as the aircraft was 10 minutes away from landing in Sachigo Lake, informing NSA (North Star Air) that COVID test results for one of the passengers on-board had just been confirmed as a positive case. North Star Air immediately contacted the flight crew and enacted its Emergency COVID Procedure. Upon landing in Sachigo, the flight crew did not let any passengers off the aircraft and kept all community members away from the aircraft. The plane then returned directly to Sioux Lookout where the passengers were transported to an isolation ward.”
On July 1, Dr. John Guilfoyle, Public Health Physician for Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority shared through a video message on Facebook that the positive test came as a result of routine surveillance as the individual had been in Sioux Lookout for care. Guilfoyle informed that the individual is self-isolating in Sioux Lookout and contact tracing has been started, which will include all those who travelled on the aircraft, “We will be reaching out to offer them testing and to make sure that they self-isolate over the next 14 days.”
The Pilatus PC-12 aircraft returned to Thunder Bay empty and the pilots entered self-isolation. The flight did not land in any other communities.
SLMHC provided the following COVID-19 update on July 6, “After six staff from Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-June, the organization completed widespread testing of staff and physicians in the facility. With surveillance testing complete, no further positives have been detected among staff or physicians. In addition, Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) and SLMHC completed contract tracing and can confirm that no contacts of the positive cases received positive test results.”
“As of yesterday, all cases and contacts are out of isolation. It is great news that none of the positive cases resulted in further infections in the community,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, Acting Medical Officer of Health from NWHU.
“SLMHC has responded very appropriately and promptly to the recent increase of viral activity. This underlines a continuing commitment by SLMHC to provide the safest possible care to our communities,” said Dr. John Guilfoyle, Public Health Physician from SLFNHA.