Federal government sends aid to Kashechewan to battle spread of COVID-19

Cochrane will be taking in 200 evacuees from Kashechewan, starting Thursday. (File photo)

With COVID-19 cases climbing in Kashechewan, the federal government is responding to the community's call for help.  

Indigenous Services Canada announced today, it's sending Canadian Rangers, nurses; and funding for: food, PPE, and testing among other supports. 

Timmins-James Bay member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party said the help is welcomed, but it's coming a week late.  He said requests for assistance were made last week and they didn't come. 

He said now, there are around two-hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases in a community of about 1800 members and most of them are young children, some infants.  There are also cases in Moosonee, Attawapiskat and Moose Factory, bringing the total number of cases on the James Bay Coast to nearly three-hundred. 

“You should have never have left people who were infected with COVID-19 in homes with 16 or 20 people," said Angus during a telephone interview with CTV News.  

"It’s created a situation that has really really turned into a crisis. So I’m glad they’re showing up now."  

Angus said, in the meantime, the community's been working with the Mennonite Central Committee to airlift supplies and medical supports ... "because the Feds haven't been there.  They have not shown up until it's a really bad crisis."

Angus added, the Red Cross is also on the ground helping local health officials there.