Quebec's northernmost Cree community of Whapmagoostui confirms positive COVID-19 case

Whapmagoostui is the latest Cree community to put in place more restrictions after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the community Monday night.

Kuujjuarapik and Chisasibi also put in place measures to protect communities

The Cree community of Whapmagoostui on the Great Whale River is side by side with the Inuit community of Kuujjuarapik on Hudson Bay in northern Quebec and are accessible only by air. Officials in both communities have put in place new restrictions after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Whapmagoostui Monday night. (Catou MacKinnon/CBC)

The most northern and most isolated of the Cree communities was placed under tighter restrictions following the confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case Monday night.

Whapmagoostui, in northern Quebec, has moved to phase one of the Cree deconfinement plan, joining other Cree communities doing the same. It's the most restrictive of the phases.

Gatherings in the community are now prohibited, schools will remain closed, travel is severely restricted and a partial lockdown is in place, among other measures. 

The individual who has tested positive was tested four days ago and six other people living in the same house were tested Tuesday. Samples were sent to Chisasibi, according to Whapmagoostui Deputy Chief Rita Sheshamush Masty. 

"Public health started the contact tracing this morning with other contacts," said Sheshamush Masty via Facebook messenger. She said the contact tracing will be happening in the community for the days to come. 

She also added it is very important for people to stay within their family "bubbles" at this time. 

"Absolutely no visiting. Stay in your household and wear a mask in public places," said Sheshamush Masty. 

Kuujjuarapik moving to red alert 

The sister Inuit community of Kuujjuarapik, which is directly next to Whapmagoostui, is moving to red alert level as a result of the positive case.

That's according to a news release from the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services issued Tuesday afternoon.

The measure means school is closed, travel restrictions are in place and a ban on all non-essential activities in the community.

Chisasibi, the largest of the Cree communities, also announced Tuesday that because of inter-community travel and contact with this positive case in Whapmagoostui, it was also moving into phase one of the deconfinement plan. 

"To avoid any potential outbreaks, please refrain from visiting other households, especially at this time," said a release issued Tuesday. 

Two other Cree communities, Mistissini and Oujé-Bougoumou are still dealing with outbreaks of their own.

As of Tuesday, 55 cases of COVID-19 have been identified from the recent outbreak in Oujé-Bougoumou and Mistissini, according to Cree Nation Government officials. 

All Cree communities are now in phase one of the deconfinement plan, according to a Cree Nation government update.