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Health ᒥᔪᐱᒫᑎᓰᐧᐃᓐ

First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Eeyou Istchee

BY Juliette Danger Mar 27, 2020

[Updated March 27 6:37 pm EST]

Eeyou Istchee’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced by the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) in a public statement, March 26.

The individual who tested positive for the virus had returned to Nemaska after traveling outside of Canada and has been in self-isolation since their return. They were tested for the virus after developing symptoms in isolation and their case was confirmed on March 26.

Public health doctors in Eeyou Istchee are now conducting “contact tracing” procedures, in order to track down and communicate with anyone who may have come into contact with the affected individual.

So far, the CBHSSJB has conducted 25 COVID-19 tests, 11 have come back negative, two have come back positive and 12 are pending. The first positive test result came earlier in the week (March 22) and was a patient who was residing at the Espresso Hotel in Montreal.

The Cree patient in Montreal who tested positive has since been moved to hospital to be monitored and continue receiving treatments.    

Those still awaiting results have been placed in “isolation houses” in Eeyou Istchee and public health officers have been delivering groceries and medications to their doorsteps to reduce the possibility of spread.

The CBHSSJB is urging community members to fully cooperate during this process, to ensure that anyone who may have come into contact with the virus is properly screened to prevent its spread.

In the public statement, the CBHSSJB reiterated the importance of community collaboration.

“We must all do our part to prevent the further spread of the virus, to protect our loved ones and especially our elders and those in fragile health,” read the statement.

This story is ongoing. Updates will be posted as information is received.

For any questions related to COVID-19, please contact the Eeyou Istchee COVID-19 Information Line: 1-866-855-2811, or visit Eeyouistcheecovid19.org

If you are experiencing symptoms, call your local clinic. You must call in advance so they can provide you with instructions before you come to the clinic.

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Juliette Danger is a writer and media-creator living in Montreal.  She studied communications at Concordia University and currently works as a Marketing Director at an Indigenous communications agency.