Updated May 26 - The Public Health Department of the Cree Board of Health has recommended a gradual, stepwise process to ease some Covid-19 restrictions in Eeyou Istchee, in light of the progress with mass vaccination in the region.
The recommendations were presented to Cree leadership in early May, after Public Health consulted with various groups across Eeyou Istchee about the benefits and burdens of current restrictions in place (including the local 14-day Mandatory Self-Isolation Laws – known as MSIL).
Step 1 Protocol
The first step to ease restrictions is reducing the number of days of isolation required under MSIL, for people entering the community from an area of risk:
- 10 days of isolation for people who are not fully vaccinated (1 dose), or who are not vaccinated at all. This includes children and youth 17 and younger.
- 7 days of isolation for people who are fully vaccinated (2 doses).
A detailed description of "fully vaccinated" and "not fully vaccinated" is available at the bottom of this page.
Cree Nation Councils have reviewed the recommended changes and have adopted amendments to their local Mandatory Self-Isolation Laws.
- Waskaganish (effective May 1)
- Chisasibi (effective May 4, 12 AM)
- Nemaska (effective May 5)
- Eastmain (effective May 10)
- Ouje-Bougoumou (effective May 10)
- Waswanipi (effective May 10)
- Wemindji (effective May 10)
- Whapmagoostui (effective May 14)
Mistissini amended its MSIL law on May 21 to require 7 days of isolation for all people, vaccinated or not.
Waswanipi amended its MSIL law on May 25 to require 7 days of isolation for all people, vaccinated or not.
Wiichihiituwin patients and escorts traveling to and from Mistissini and Waswanipi will receive specific information about isolation requirements.
Cree Health Board employees who travel to and from Mistissini and Waswanipi should consult HR for specific instructions.
Proof of Vaccination
Community members and workers traveling back to Eeyou Istchee will be required to show proof of vaccination when they return to the territory. People should contact their CMC if they don’t have their proof of vaccination.
The gradual easing of some Covid-19 restrictions also depends on more asymptomatic screening tests being done in each community. People can request a screening test at their CMC. Voluntary screening tests are recommended for community members after certain activities, described below.
When are Screening Tests Recommended?
When people return home to Eeyou Istchee from an area of risk.
- Public Health recommends a screening test approximately 5 days after returning home. This will help make sure that communities stay safe from Covid-19 during reduced travel restrictions.
When people feel they have encountered any other risk, for example:
- After traveling to visit a low-risk area like Abitibi.
- After shopping in a place where other people may not have been wearing masks, or following other hygiene measures.
- After attending large gatherings.
Screening tests are especially recommended for people who are not vaccinated or have only received one dose of the vaccine.
People can request a screening test at their CMC.
Managing isolation for groups
Groups of travelers that include people subject to different periods of isolation should plan to either complete 10 days of isolation with everyone, or plan to have people required to isolate for 10 days complete the last 3 days of their isolation separately.
Isolation for Wiichihiituwin clients and patients
Wiichihiituwin patients and escorts traveling to the south by charter plane will continue to split their isolation days under the amended Mandatory Self-Isolation Laws.
- Patients and escorts who are required to isolate for 10 days will do 5/5 isolation (5 days in the south, 5 days in the community).
- Patients and escorts who are eligible to isolate for 7 days will do 2/5 isolation (2 days in the south, 5 days in the community).
Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine for youth aged 12-17, and the vaccine will be available for this group in Eeyou Istchee in coming weeks. More details will soon be available.
Until children can be vaccinated, Public Health recommends that they not travel to high-risk areas for the time being.
Cree Health Board Employees
CBHSSJB staff who travel back and forth from Eeyou Istchee should consult HR for specific instructions about the amended isolation rules, and other directives about screening tests.
What Does "Fully Vaccinated" Mean?
Under the changes to MSIL, people who are fully vaccinated are required to do seven (7) days of isolation.
"Fully vaccinated" means people have received the complete Covid-19 vaccination series under Quebec's Immunization Protocol - Protocole d'immunisation du Québec (PIQ).
- For most people, this means they've received 2 doses of an approved vaccine, given according to the schedule.
- For people who had a previous Covid-19 infection, this may mean only 1 dose of an approved vaccine. If this is the case, please contact your CMC.
Proof of vaccination can be obtained from CMCs.
- Once people have received their last dose of full vaccination, there is no waiting period for them to be eligible for the 7 days isolation measure.
- For example, people who received their 2nd dose the day before they arrive in a community can isolate for 7 days as required by MSIL.
What Does "Not Fully Vaccinated" Mean?
Under the changes to MSIL, people who are not fully vaccinated are required to do ten (10) days of isolation.
"Not fully vaccinated" includes:
- People who choose not to be vaccinated at all.
- People who have received 1 dose of the vaccine but have not yet received their 2nd dose.
- People who are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, for example, children and youth 17 and younger.