Kashechewan outbreak may have peaked, Chief Friday says
Chief Leo Friday says resolved cases outnumbered new cases for first time Tuesday
The Chief of Kashechewan says he believes the COVID-19 crisis sweeping over the community may have peaked.
Chief Leo Friday says that resolved cases outnumbered new cases for the first time, yesterday. The case count currently stands at 216, Friday said.
More than one in ten people have been infected, and about half are children under 12.
"It's an overcrowding issue," Chief Friday said. "We started off with one case, then three, and all of a sudden it jumps to 11 and climbing every day after that."
Friday said health officials in the community thought they had the virus under control earlier, but the spike in COVID-19 variants, which spread easier and faster, caught everyone by surprise.
"I think we managed to take some families from that house, and [bring them to] this house, and so forth," he said.
Friday said they're expecting more units from the government to help infected people stay quarantined, and the community's high school has been repurposed to keep people isolated.
About 15 Canadian Rangers and 15 nurses were expected to arrive Tuesday to help, although Friday says help from the army would also be welcome.
Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay, said a number of factors contributed to the spread, including overcrowding and high levels of opioid addiction.
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"What does the government think is going to happen if [COVID-19] is going to find the easiest vector?" Angus said. "In this case, that vector turned out to be children and in a number of cases, babies."
Further study of the situation in Kashechwean– especially how anti-vaccination information spread through the community– is necessary, Angus added.
"The one thing that I think is really clear with the government's response to the crisis is that they only do something when they really have to do," he said.
"These are communities that are always high-risk."
With files from Olivia Stefanovich