COVID-19 : the Mohawk council preoccupied by the situation in Kahnawake

Par Vicky Girard
COVID-19 : the Mohawk council preoccupied by the situation in Kahnawake
The Mohawk council of Kahnawake / Le conseil mohawk de Kahnwake (Photo : Archives)

About 10 active cases in the community of Kahnawake, an outbreak in a residential elders institution and the Peacekeeper Chief testing positive for the virus are concerning the Mohawk council (MCK), which described itself as “gravely concerned” in a press release, on January 3rd.

The MCK affirmed that all the residents of the Turtle Bay Elders Lodge are currently in isolation. On December 31st, the Kahnawake COVID-19 Task Force explained that two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus and self-isolated. Any residents with symptoms were tested, tracing has been done, screening will be done every 5 days, and Public Health directives were reinforced.

Kahnawake was dealing with 12 active cases on January 3rd. The MCK also addressed the actions of some community members “who have made personal attacks on certain members of the Kahnawake COVID-19 Task Force”.

“Now is the time to focus on keeping this horrible virus away from our elders and most vulnerable by doing what has to be done, said Ratsénhaienhs Frankie McComber. It’s not the Task Force, it’s not the tobacco industry or businesspeople, and it’s not MCK that we are fighting – it’s the virus that we all need to fight together.”

Concerning the Chief Peacekeeper Dwayne Zacharie, who was infected by COVID-19, the Task Force indicated on January 4th that he remains in self-isolation. No other members are experiencing signs or symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with him during a contagious period.

Dwayne Zacharie told the Kahnawake community radio, K103.7 that his symptoms began with a headache on December 28th and that it progressed to body aches and a temporary loss of his sense of smell.

“I was actually in shock but the moment I started to feel ill I immediately started to isolate, he said. I told everybody in my household that they had to stay away from me, that they can’t come near my room. I was concerned, but I was still kind of hopeful that it was something else but it ended up being COVID-19. I just want people to know that just because you get COVID-19 it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Non-essential businesses have been closed since December 31st and will remain closed until the end of January. On the first weekend of closure, two fines were issued for not adhering to a directive. The fines totalled $16,543.

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