The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Eeyou Istchee. Since returning from travel outside Canada on March 12, the person has been in continuous isolation in their home, following the public health directives in place throughout Quebec to self-isolate for 14 days. After developing symptoms, the person was tested, and the positive test result was confirmed on March 26, 2020.
Following public health protocol, the CBHSSJB is currently “contact tracing”, i.e. getting in touch with anyone who may have come into contact with this individual, going back two days before their symptoms appeared. We ask community members to help us by providing your full cooperation during these important phone calls from our Public Health Department.
It is important to note that the transmission of the virus is most common after symptoms appear. Once a case is confirmed, that person’s movements and contacts are traced. The CBHSSJB calls everyone who may have come into contact with the sick person, going back to two days before their symptoms appeared. These individuals are then isolated and possibly tested. They are monitored twice daily for symptoms (fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath). If symptoms develop, they are tested.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CBHSSJB has been taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of infection to Eeyou Istchee, including doing more testing than is done in other places, in order to better protect our people.
All sectors of the CBHSSJB are working intensively with our partners on COVID-19 preparedness and response. The Cree Health Board’s top priority is the prevention, detection and control of suspected or confirmed cases of infection in Eeyou Istchee.
Numerous measures are in place at CBHSSJB facilities to limit exposure, such as restricting visitor access to health care facilities, including Community Miyupimaatisiiuun Centres (CMCs, Chisasibi Regional Hospital, Espresso Hotel, and residential facilities such as group homes.
Earlier this week, a Cree patient residing at the Espresso Hotel who tested positive for COVID-19 was moved to a Montreal hospital where they could be monitored for symptoms while continuing to receive regular treatments.
As an additional precaution, all patients and escorts at the Espresso Hotel are in mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
Each of us is affected by this crisis, but we can be grateful for the dedication of our health care workers and their support teams who have been working around the clock for weeks to prepare for cases in our region.
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.
Please practice social distancing. Limit contact with others. Avoid crowds and social gatherings, including funerals. Do not hug or shake hands. Remain at least 6 feet apart. Stay home and avoid non-essential travel. Wash your hands frequently, especially if you have been in a public place.
If you have questions or are having a hard time coping with the strain of our current situation, please contact the Eeyou Istchee COVID-19 Information Line: 1-866-855-2811.
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.