As cases of COVID-19 rise in Quebec, Public Health urges families and friends to take precautions when gathering for the holidays and recommends schools and workplaces implement strategies to limit the risk of post-holiday outbreaks.
During the Christmas and holiday season, we recognize that people will be travelling in and out of Cree communities in Eeyou Istchee, visiting families, welcoming visitors, and staff of various organizations.
We also know that COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising in the province and in other areas of the country, and they are expected to continue to rise over the holiday and into the New Year.
At the same time, the Omicron variant of concern is being detected in more places, including in Canada. Our understanding of the science behind the variant is evolving.
Due to these factors, the risk of an outbreak in a Cree community is likely to grow during and following the holiday period.
While we cannot eliminate this risk, we can make choices to limit it.
With this in mind, all community entities are encouraged to adapt their services to their client’s needs while remaining cautious in order to reduce the risk associated with holiday gatherings at this happy time of year.
For many workplaces, this could include encouraging telework for some employees in the weeks following the holiday period to create a buffer of time between family gatherings and interactions in the workplace.
In addition, upon consultation with Public Health, the Cree School Board has decided to implement a precautionary strategy for the two-week post-holiday period, including:
- online learning
- following all local precautions
- returning employees to telework
These measures take into account student, parent, and employee well-being, and the ability of the School Board to adapt their services.
Planning for this eventuality now could prevent the need for a more complex community response in the event of an outbreak. Ultimately, this approach will be less disruptive to the communities.