Coronavirus: Kahnawake and Kanesatake ramp up preventive measures

The Kahnawake COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force announced Saturday it would be enforcing additional measures amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in Quebec.

On Sunday, the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK) along with the Kanesatake Health Center (KHC) and the Emergency Preparedness Team have asked that all stores close indefinitely following Kahnawake’s announcement.

Following the province’s recent mitigation measures, Kahnawake officials have asked that:

  • Both pharmacies remain open.
  • Residents remain in the territory and only travel outside the community for food or medicine/medical needs.
  • All tobacco factories and cigarette stores close until further notice.
  • All community gathering sites such as churches, longhouses, reception halls and other buildings facilities be closed to the public.

“In the new context of yesterday’s announcement by our sister community of Kahnawake to shut-down their local businesses, we are very much concerned that we will see a significantly larger influx of people at our community’s doorstep,”  Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon wrote in a press release. “This will in turn drastically increase the risk of exposure to our members and that of surrounding populations.”

Grand Chief Simon added that Kanesatake is among the vulnerable. More than 50 per cent of community members have underlying pre-existing health conditions and are more likely to experience serious complications when contracting the virus.

Quebec Premier François Legault announced on Sunday the mandatory closure of all malls and hairdressing salons, with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores — effective as of midnight.

The province also announced that the closure of all elementary schools, high schools and daycares will be extended until May 1. Daycares open for the temporary keeping of children of essential care workers are the exception.

All restaurants are also being asked to close their dining rooms and allow for take-out only.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec climbed to 219 Sunday, with 24 people hospitalized, including 13 people in intensive care, and four fatalities.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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