Wiikwemkoong Ogimaa declares COVID-19 outbreak after six cases announced in the community

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WIIKWEMKOONG – On Wednesday afternoon, Wiikwemkoong Ogimaa Duke Peltier held a Facebook Live event where he confirmed his community is facing an outbreak of COVID-19.

Following last week’s two cases of the coronavirus, public health and Wikwemikong Health Centre have confirmed four more cases that are unrelated to last week’s announcement. These new cases may be the result of community spread, the ogimaa shared.

Ogimaa Peltier said that following meetings on Wednesday, and in keeping with Wiikwemkoong’s Outbreak Management Plan, the community decided to announce an outbreak, also due to the possibility of community spread.

“We are asking community members to stay home and only leave for essential services or designate one member of your household to do essential shopping,” Ogimaa Peltier said.

The ogimaa further asked community members to refrain from gatherings and to stay within their household ‘bubbles.’

The band office is closed for the remainder of Wednesday and community programming has been cancelled until further notice. The ogimaa also shared that public health nurses are currently undergoing contact tracing.

Ogimaa Peltier asked the community to continue to follow public health guidelines, acknowledging that people, himself included, are tired and ready for the return of normal life, but that this cannot be achieved unless we all do our part.

He asked that those who have not yet been vaccinated to consider doing so, noting that a mobile, walk-in clinic will be at the mini mall on Wikwemikong Way this Thursday, August 5 from noon until 4 pm.

“Be kind, and support one another,” Ogimaa Peltier added. “Don’t lay or cast blame.”

Also on Wednesday, M’Chigeeng First Nation announced that a non-band member who lives in the community has tested positive for COVID-19.

“The individual has tested positive outside of our community and is currently isolating away from the community,” the community notice states. “All close contacts have been identified and are very, very minimal … At this time, we confirm that there is very low risk to our community.”

The community notice continues to note that the individual will not be returning to the community until they post a negative COVID-19 test. Testing is available through the M’Chigeeng Health Centre by calling 705-377-5347.

Anyone who feels that they may need mental health supports is encouraged to contact the crisis team at 705-348-1937. Those with concerns that they may have been in contact with a case or are exhibiting symptoms are advised to call the Wikwemikong Health Centre at 705-859-3164 or contact the Manitoulin Health Centre COVID assessment centres by calling 705-368-2300 (Little Current site) or 705-377-5311 (Mindemoya site) and following the prompts. Testing is based on a clinical assessment of each person.