Sudbury

Northern communities on James Bay coast working to lower COVID-19 cases

The number of COVID-19 cases in communities on the James Bay Coast has dropped dramatically since a surge last month. As of Friday, the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority said there were 22 active cases in the region, down from the 170 reported one month ago.

Town of Moosonee was able to declare itself COVID-free when cases dropped to zero on Friday

Over the past month, residents in communities on the James Bay coast, like those in Attawapiskat (seen in this March 2021 picture of a COVID-19 vaccine clinic) have worked hard to reduce positive cases of the virus. (Weeneebayko Area Health Authority )

The number of COVID-19 cases in communities on the James Bay Coast has dropped dramatically since a surge last month.

As of Friday, the Weeneebayko Health Authority said there were 22 active cases in the region. That's a significant drop from a month ago when health officials had reported more than 170 active cases of the virus. 

On July 9, Moosonee was able to declare itself COVID-free, when it was down to zero cases of the virus in the community.

"Everybody is still taking this seriously," says mayor Wayne Taipale. He's relieved citizens have acted — and continue to act-responsibly.

Wayne Taipale is the mayor of Moosonee. (Erik White/CBC)

"The whole community has chipped in. You don't see a lot of people on the streets  or big crowds in the stores or anything," he said.

"Everybody is still really really concerned about this and participating to get it cleared right up." 

Taipale doesn't think there's a high chance of people bringing the virus back in from other coastal communities.

"There is a possibility, but we're not really that concerned. Again, this is a time of year we don't have the remote communities come to Moosonee as much as normal."

WAHA stated that as of Friday there were 18 active cases in Kashechewan, one in Fort Albany, and three in Attawapiskat. There have been more than 660 cases in the WAHA  catchment area since the pandemic began.

Despite the significant drop in cases, WAHA confirmed in a news release over the weekend that one person died recently from COVID-19 in Kashechewan First Nation. No further details have been released.

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