Off-Island construction worker in Wiikwemkoong contracts COVID-19

Ogimaa Duke Peltier addresses his community over Facebook Live on Thursday afternoon, March 18, 2021.

WIIKWEMKOONG – A construction employee working in Wiikwemkoong has recently tested positive for COVID-19, Wiikwemkoong Ogimaa Duke Peltier announced Thursday afternoon on a Facebook Live broadcast.

The worker is part of the crew expanding Ngwaagan Gamig (Rainbow Lodge) Recovery Centre. They were not living in the community during the construction process and commuted to the work site location from outside of the District of Manitoulin, according to Ogimaa Peltier. This means it will not increase Manitoulin’s active case count of one existing positive COVID-19 patient.

“We were notified by our health officials that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Ngwaagan Gamig Rainbow Lodge treatment centre, at the construction site for the new healing lodge. We’re working with the construction company to ensure that all of our pandemic protocols are initiated and are being adhered to,” Ogimaa Peltier said during the broadcast.

He described the individual as having “limited contact,” and said Wiikwemkoong health workers have begun the contact tracing process to assess any potential risk of community spread. Only those deemed high-risk or a close contact of the individual will receive a phone call.

Other workers at the job site have been sent home as a precaution and will receive COVID-19 testing as soon as possible. The construction site will reopen when it is safe to do so.

Ogimaa Peltier said all health protocols have remained in place there such as physical distancing, wearing masks and other proper personal protective equipment. This applies to all workers, contractors and subcontractors.

“We want to stress to everyone that the safety protocols that we’ve been recommending and been adhering to are still things we need to continue to do,” said Ogimaa Peltier, noting that the Public Health Sudbury and Districts area remains in the grey-lockdown zone of public health restrictions.

He urged people to only travel for essential purposes and to stay home as much as possible.

Community programming in Wiikwemkoong will not change as a result of the announcement, but the ogimaa asked only one parent to attend hockey games and asked all to continue following safety protocols.

Wiikwemkoong will update the community if it discovers any new information through the contact tracing process.

Anyone concerned that they may have come in contact or experiencing symptoms should call Naandwechige-Gamig Wiikwemkoong Health Centre, 705-859-3164 x221, or the after-hours on-call nurse at 705-690-8941.

 “We remind everyone to continue to support and love one another. We know these are trying times; it’s been one year since we’ve been in the pandemic, and I think everyone is doing a wonderful job here in our community. However, we do know that it does take its toll on our mental well-being,” Ogimaa Peltier said.

Wiikwemkoong’s crisis response line remains available for those needing support, at 705-348-1937. “By staying home, you are staying safe. Miigwetch for your continuous understanding, patience and support as we continue to move forward at this time, for keeping Wiikwemkoong safe,” he