Kahnawake alert level lowered to orange
The Mohawk community of Kahnawake will soon lower its alert level from red to orange, now that the first phase of its vaccination campaign has been completed. About 74% of the adult population and 70% of 16- and- 17-year-olds have received their first shot. As of May 21st, the number of people allowed to gather outdoors will increase from eight to 12 as long as they wear a mask and stay two meters apart. Some sports and recreational activities will be permitted, and places of worship will be able to accommodate people at 25% capacity, to a maximum of 50 community members. Restaurants will also be able to reopen at 25% capacity. “It is only for Kahnawake at this time, and it is only for one household that can sit at a table together”, Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre Executive Director Lisa Westaway said at press conference on May 13th. “This is a temporary measure until Quebec opens in-dining restaurants in the communities around us, meaning Montérégie and Montreal”. Kahnawake has been managing its COVID-19 response locally since the start of the pandemic. Growing number of cases among teens The relaxing of public health measures follows a series of outbreaks among young people. The community has recently gone from 0 active cases to 25 in a few weeks. For comparison, the total number of cases during the first wave was 22. To deal with the rise in cases, the Kahnawake COVID-19 Task Force added other precautions. For example, 25 additional shots were made available to 16- and 17- year-olds, and a new rewards program was created for teens who respect safety rules. With the flare-up now under control, Westaway says the response team is prepared to deal with new risks. “That was a really good demonstration of our ability to contain COVID within the community quickly”, she said. All front-line workers have already received their second dose.