North

4 cases of COVID-19 among Cree reported in territory and Montreal

There are now four cases of COVID-19 among Cree in Quebec — three in communities in northern Quebec and one case involving a Cree patient in Montreal. 

Chisasibi reports its 1st case, authorities confident all 4 are contained

Chisasibi, the largest of the Cree communities, with a population of more than 5,000 had its first case confirmed Tuesday. The person in question isolated themselves as soon as they arrived in the community. (Susan Bell/CBC)

There are now four cases of COVID-19 among Cree in Quebec — three in communities in northern Quebec and one case involving a Cree patient in Montreal. 

The Cree Nation Government issued a press release Tuesday, confirming there are now three cases in the territory — one in Chisasibi, the largest of the Cree communities located about 1,400 kilometres north of Montreal. Two cases are in Nemaska, about 500 kilometres south of Chisasibi.

"The individual that recently tested positive in Chisasibi isolated themselves as soon as they arrived in the community," states the release, adding when they tested positive, they were already in self-isolation.

Health officials have traced people who were in contact with the person, tested some of them and place some of them in isolation while they await results of the tests, states the release.  

"There is reason to be confident on the containment of this case." 

It is not the time to have gatherings.- Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay

There have been 74 tests for COVID-19 administered to Cree so far, and 36 people have tested negative, according to the release. It is not clear whether the tests were all administered by the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. 

The release also encourages people to follow the physical distancing guidelines outlined by Cree health officials to stay more than two metres apart, to visit only with people you live with, wash hands frequently for more than 20 seconds and avoid touching the face. 

Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum. (Cree Nation Government/Facebook)

"It is not the time to have gatherings," said the release, adding that the Eenou-Eeyou Police Force have the authority to intervene when there are gatherings and community members "who refuse to co-operate could face serious consequences".

2 cases in Nemaska

The two other cases in Nemaska were both people who had travelled internationally together, according to Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum. 

"They travelled together in the South, that is how they contracted it," said Bosum, in Cree.

Both people have been in quarantine since they arrived back in the community earlier in March, and their families are self-isolating, according to release issued by the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. 

"These individuals should be commended for having followed the self-isolation protocol," said the release. "They have done a lot to protect the health of their community."

Only 1 case linked to Espresso Hotel in Montreal

The positive case linked to the Espresso Hotel involves a Cree patient being treated in Montreal, where many Cree patients stay, when they come to the city to see specialists

The patient has been transferred to a Montreal hospital, according to the release.

Hotel Espresso on Guy Street in Montreal is where many Cree patients stay when they come south to see medical specialists. (Stephane Gunner/CBC)

"All of the people who were in contact with [the patient] have been investigated and isolated," according to the release, adding that if any of them had symptoms they were tested. 

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay also said Wednesday that Cree patients are no longer being sent to the Hotel Espresso, but are being lodged at another hotel in the city.

Chief Bosum also said each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, more than 40 Cree leaders, chiefs, head of entities, director generals meet with the top leaders at the Cree health board to update the situation. 

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay has an information phone line at 1-866-855-2811 for anyone with questions or concerns about COVID-19. 

Corrections

  • On Tuesday, the public health department of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay initially reported there were two cases linked to the Espresso Hotel in Montreal.  On Wednesday, they issued a corrected release, saying that only one Cree patient in Montreal was infected.
    Apr 01, 2020 8:36 AM CT