Activists in Montreal area hardest hit by COVID-19 distribute face coverings

Montreal North activists are giving out masks and gloves in the borough, saying they felt the need to take matters into their own hands due to inaction by political leaders on COVID-19.

Community group Hoodstock is also spreading the word about how to implement strict sanitary measures to cut down the virus' spread.

“It's our people, it's us,” said Hoodstock member Naika Louis. “So it's really important to take care of the community to help the people around us.”

Montreal North remains the hardest hit part of the city on a per capita basis. More than 1,300 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the borough.

“We're sending the message it's important to wear a mask, be protected and make sure you prevent sending the disease to other people in the population,” said Hoodstock co-founder Will Prosper.

Prosper said he warned city officials weeks ago that the borough could see a spike in cases.

“It's been eight weeks and we said we can't wait anymore,” said Prosper. “Nobody was thinking about all the health workers, all the frontline workers we had in this community. We all knew Montreal North was probably going to end up first.”

Experts have said part of the reason for the virus' spread in the borough is the large amount of healthcare and frontline workers living in the area, as well the high population density.

Last week, Mayor Valerie Plante said the city would finance the distribution of face coverings in Montreal North through community groups like Hoodstock. The city has donated $10,000 to distribution efforts and implemented sanitary corridors.

“In Montreal North, we quite often feel like we're left behind, like it's not important, people here don't matter,” said Prosper. “To us, everybody matters.” 

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