Kashechewan in Crisis as COVID-19 Spreads Among Youth, Overwhelming Community Resources – –

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Kashechewan in Crisis as COVID-19 Spreads Among Youth, Overwhelming Community Resources – –


SUDBURY – A humanitarian crisis quickly overwhelms the remote community of Kashechewan, a Northern Ontario First Nation on the James Bay coast.

In a community of 1,800 people, 114 have the disease and many more are awaiting test results, the community said in a press release Friday.

“Community leaders and workers who are not isolated are quickly exhausted and exhausted,” the statement said.

“Chef Leo Friday and his advisers work 13 hours a day, trying to support the sick and those who are isolated, carrying out welfare checks and delivering a limited amount of food, sanitation and hygiene supplies. EAR. A similar story unfolds in other remote communities along James Bay.

As of Friday afternoon, the Porcupine Health Unit reported 38 new cases in its coverage area, including 29 cases in the James Bay and Hudson Bay area, eight cases in Timmins and one case in the James Bay and Hudson Bay area. Cochrane, Matheson, Iroquois Falls and Smooth Rock Falls.

In Kashechewan, 77 of the total positive cases are young people 17 years of age or younger.

“Most adults have already been vaccinated, but now COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through the younger population,” the statement said.

“Children as young as four months old have been infected. Eight community members were airlifted to hospitals in southern Ontario for treatment last night.

The chief on Friday said the crisis could have been avoided if their concerns had been addressed.

“For years we have asked for help to meet our housing and infrastructure needs,” the statement said Friday.

“We have three bedroom houses with 18 people living there and others with four family groups. We are also in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis. The government repeatedly tells us to submit proposals for support, but the proposals have all been rejected or delayed.

A major problem is the lack of places where people can isolate themselves. Authorities have set up tents to house people who must isolate themselves on the school grounds, “but these people will still have to share toilets and kitchen facilities, which will lead to further spread of the virus,” the statement said. .

Kashechewan council asked the Canadian military to bring in supplies and help build isolation centers, but the request was not approved.

“A teleconference yesterday with Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, left the chief without any firm commitment to concrete help,” the statement said.

“We have started to receive offers of help from organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, but it takes time to put these workers in place,” said Wilbert Wesley, director of emergency services at Mushkegowuk Council, in the press release.

“We have to make sure they are fully vaccinated, tested and have a place to stay. “

In addition, Wesley said the only large cargo plane in the James Bay area is due to undergo a four-week maintenance overhaul, leaving remote communities dependent on small planes that will not be able to deliver a larger shipment of aircraft. ‘equipment or supplies.

On Friday, residents wanted to know the government was going to help them.

“We need help, but we also need to feel that Canada has not forgotten us,” he said.

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