We have reported 3 new cases of COVID-19 in Eeyou Istchee this month. These cases show us that we have the right tools to detect and control COVID-19 when it enters our communities.
Chisasibi Update – Sewage Surveillance
The positive case in Chisasibi was first signalled to Public Health last week through a pilot project that tests sewage.
When sewage samples test positive for COVID, it means there is a case in the community. That’s what happened in Chisasibi last week. It was a signal to investigate and test people.
Public Health asked people who recently arrived in Chisasibi to get tested for COVID-19.
- More than 150 people were tested over the weekend.
- The positive case was found.
- That person and all their close contacts are isolating.
- The situation is contained.
The Cree Health Board would like to thank each community member who took a test, and collaborated with measures in place. We acknowledge the efforts of Chisasibi’s emergency response committee to support and collaborate with the public health investigation.
We are fortunate to have strong partnerships with community leaders to take action together when necessary.
Positive case in Ouje-Bougoumou
Last week, a positive case was reported in Ouje-Bougoumou.
- It involved a person who had recently travelled from the south.
- They started to feel sick, self-isolated and got tested.
- The situation is contained.
This case reminds us how important it is to take action and get tested if we start to feel sick.
Positive case in Wemindji recovered
In Wemindji, the positive case linked to a worksite has recovered. The workplace outbreak in Wemindji was detected through routine screening tests.
The Cree Health Board will continue to encourage all travellers and workers to get screening tests regularly, even if they are vaccinated. Testing provides another important layer of protection for Eeyou Istchee.
Mandatory Vaccination no longer required for Healthcare Workers
Quebec has changed the rules for health care workers and COVID-19 vaccination. Healthcare workers are no longer required to be fully vaccinated. Any worker who is not fully vaccinated will be required to get tested on a regular basis. At the Cree Health Board, our Human Resources Department is sharing information about these new rules with staff and employees.
Children’s COVID-19 Vaccination
Quebec has announced that COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 – 11 will start later this fall, and before the end of the year. The Cree Health Board is working hard to prepare a vaccination campaign in Eeyou Istchee.
It will be important to vaccinate our children because we have so many young people in our communities. We want families, parents and guardians to get the right information about vaccination. Visit the Cree Health website where we have shared some frequently asked questions.
Important Notice for Wiichiihiituwin patients and escorts
There are new rules for people who travel by airplane in Canada. They affect people who take commercial flights and charter flights, including the Cree Health Board Medical charter. All passengers 12 years and older must now show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The rules are set by Transport Canada. They took effect October 30. I will now explain how these rules affect people who take the charter to the south.
- Wiichiihiituwin patients and escorts have to show proof that they have 2 doses of a COVID vaccine before they get on any charter.
- Patients and escorts who are not fully vaccinated will have to show proof of a negative COVID test before they get on any charter. They should plan to take a test 72 hours (3 days) before flying on the charter.
- If you are fully vaccinated, and have proof of vaccination, you will need a negative COVID test to take the charter from Montreal, Val-d’Or or Chibougamau AFTER YOUR APPOINTMENTS.
- If you are taking the charter, please make sure you understand what proof you need to bring to the airport, before you travel.
- Ask your liaison nurse for more information if the requirements aren’t clear.
Map of Areas of Risk and Deconfinement Measures
The outbreak of COVID cases in Nunavik continues to affect several communities who are our neighbours and relations. The situation is serious. A contact tracer from the Cree Health Board is working with Nunavik Public Health in this situation.
There are no cases reported in Kuujuuarapik. Air travel between Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay is suspended. Whapmagoostui has implemented local measures including:
- Reducing gatherings to Phase 3 of deconfinement guidelines.
- Adding Ivujivik, Salluit, Kangirsuk and Kuujjuak as areas of risk under Whapmagoostui’s Mandatory Self-Isolation Law.
All other Cree communities are in Phase 4 deconfinement, which means outdoor gatherings are limited to 150 people, and indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.
Travel to Areas of Risk
Gatineau (Region 7) has been removed from the Map of Areas of Risk. Here are the current areas of risk:
- Region 3 - Quebec City
- Region 5 – Estrie
- Region 4 - Mauricie et Centre-du-Québec
- Region 6 – Montréal
- Region 12: Chaudiere-Appalaches
- Region 13 – Laval
- Region 14 – Lanaudière
- Region 15 – Laurentides
- Region 16 – Montérégie
- Ottawa, Hastings, and Eastern Ontario are also considered areas of risk.
People who travel from a region on the map of areas of risk are subject to MSIL when they return to Eeyou Istchee.
Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated people who are travelling from these regions will be required to self-isolate when they return to their community, according to local Mandatory Self-Isolation Laws.
- People who have only received one dose of the vaccine, and people who are not vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days when they return from an area of risk. This includes children under the age of 12.
- A screening test between Day 5 and 7 is also recommended.
- Please note that some communities may have other isolation requirements in place (that may mean a different number of days of isolation).
Fully vaccinated people no longer have to isolate when they return from any region outside Eeyou Istchee, including areas of risk. People who are fully vaccinated will have to follow other precautions for one week:
- Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
- Get a COVID test on Day 5.
- Limit social contacts to essential activities.
CREE NATION GOVERNMENT AREAS OF RISK MAP FOR TRAVELLERS
Reminder: Check with your PSO before traveling outside of Eeyou Istchee.
The Cree Nation Government and the Cree Board of Health are closely monitoring our neighbouring areas to assess the risks associated with travel. We are looking for any increase in the number of cases, changes in the regions' ability to manage epidemics, and their ability to conduct contact tracing.
Reminder about the Flu Shot
- The Cree Health Board encourages everyone who is eligible to get a flu shot before the winter.
- The flu virus is different than the Covid virus. It needs a different vaccine....
- Elderly people, and people who have chronic diseases are especially vulnerable to the flu.
You can get your flu shot at your CMC.
Starting October 30, 2021, new Federal regulations for air travel come into effect. These regulations affect passengers on both commercial flights and private charter flights, including the Cree Health Board Medical Charter.
Flu shots will be available in Eeyou Istchee starting on November 1st, 2021 and are recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. COVID-19 vaccination does not protect you from the flu. Consider getting your flu shot to continue protecting yourself, one another, and the healthcare system.