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Nunavut residents staying in isolation hotels in Winnipeg are being given the option to take a rapid test for COVID-19.

Since March, anyone who leaves Nunavut must isolate for 14 days in a hotel in Yellowknife, Edmonton, Winnipeg or Ottawa before flying back.

Nunavut’s first cases of COVID-19 have been traced to individuals who completed 14 days of isolation in Winnipeg.

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Dr. Michael Patterson, chief public health officer, says the rapid testing will add an extra layer of protection..

Tests will be offered at the beginning, middle and end of isolation using a machine that delivers results in 15 minutes.

It’s still unknown how the people in isolation contracted COVID-19, and at a news conference today, Patterson said it may never be known.

Patterson says the rapid testing is part of an agreement between the federal government and the Canadian Red Cross.

There were 51 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Monday. Fewer than five people have been hospitalized in Winnipeg.

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