Walpole Island First Nation health centre strained due to rising cases

·2 min read
Cases on Walpole Island First Nation have spiked over the last two weeks. The region currently has 28 active cases. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)
Cases on Walpole Island First Nation have spiked over the last two weeks. The region currently has 28 active cases. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC - image credit)

Walpole Island First Nation has experienced a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases which has led to two closures.

Within the last week, two outbreaks were declared at the day care centre and school on the island with both staff and students.

James Jenkins, chief executive officer of Walpole Island First Nation, said its health centre has been pushed to its limits making it the worst situation he has seen on Walpole Island since the pandemic was first declared.

"We're at the breaking point now," Jenkins said.

There are currently 28 active cases. Two weeks ago they had none.

Jenkins said the health centre has been challenged in gathering contact tracing information and conducting COVID-19 testing.

"If we're not able to provide those tests, if we're not able to get in touch with the individuals who were exposed, that can lead to more spread as more people aren't being notified in time," he said.

Katerina Georgieva/CBC
Katerina Georgieva/CBC

To curb the spread, further restrictions have been put in place.

"We are looking at reverting back to a more restrictive set of regulations than what's in place now," he said.

A decision has yet to be made on how restrictive the measures will be, but limiting gathering sizes and re-evaluating staffing levels in the workplace will likely be considered.

'A reflection of what's happening in the community'

Both the Walpole Island First Nations Children Centre and day school have been closed since outbreaks were declared. Staff and students contracted the virus however Jenkins said only a small number of cases were transmitted there. He said a majority of the active cases were contracted through community transmission.

"The cases that we're seeing in the day care centre and school are more of a reflection of what's happening within the community right now," he said.

Jenkins expects the schools to reopen next week, once the outbreak is considered over.

"We hope this is temporary but we're trying to curb the rise in cases," he said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting