LOCAL NEWS - JULY 1, 2020 - MAYOR WANDA BEAUDOIN GIVES AN UPDATE TO THE POPULATION
An update from the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
Possibility of border control point being lifted to Labrador may not be announced until June 8th at the earliest
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 2, 2020 - BORDER INFO CLARIFICATION AND AN UPDATE FOR THE POPULATIONS
CFBS was speaking this afternoon with the Mayor of L'anse au Clair and chair person for the Combined Councils of Labrador, Mr. Chad Letto, about the questions being asked about lifting the local border patrol controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador, and also received some information to clarify for the population about crossing the border and what is expected by Newfoundland/Labradorians upon your return into the province from Quebec.
For residents of Newfoundland/Labrador, you should only be crossing the border into Quebec for essential reasons, to which when you return you do not need to isolate. Shopping is not considered an essential reason for cross border travel into Quebec, should you cross for this reason, upon return, you would be required to isolate for 14 days. Ferry arrivals from the island should direct themselves to the border without stopping at stores in the community of Blanc-Sablon, in order to avoid isolation requirements, as well as those crossing the border from Labrador to go to the ferry terminal in Blanc-Sablon.
Mayor Letto also wanted to express his understanding to the concerns from people of both Southern Labrador and neighbors on Quebec's Lower North Shore on wanting to see life return to normal and cross border interaction to resume as it was prior to the pandemic. Mr. Letto acknowledged that these times are trying for everyone, but expresses the need for patience from the populations as local leaders work together to try and find a solution to the border control point still in place, while respecting the health and safety of everyone in Newfoundland/Labrador and in the neighboring border communities of Quebec.
Meetings continue to take place with elected officials on the Lower North Shore and leaders in Labrador, a positive dialogue continues in this direction. As well, a meeting is scheduled with Premier Dwight Ball and the leaders of Labrador communities this weekend on Saturday June 6th to discuss this file. However, at this time, nothing will be considered for the possible lifting of any border restrictions until June 8th during the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador COVID-19 press brief when the moving to level 3 in the province will be considered. Important again to note, this is the earliest date that this announcement may be made, but does not mean that the control point will be lifted on this date.
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 2, 2020 - JOIN THE FUN ON COMMUNITY CLEAN UP DAY!
June 5th is World Environment Day and to celebrate, the Coasters Association is inviting the communities of the Lower North Shore to participate in a Community Clean Up Day!
CFBS was speaking today with Marilyn Moffat, Youth Engagement Coordinator, and Chelsey Thomas, Director of Youth Development at the Coasters Association, about the great initiative they are working on to get people interested in cleaning up their communities and to be proud of the beautiful places we call home by getting involved!
Garbage bags are being supplied in each community at the Municipal offices and at certain stores all along the Lower North Shore! To find out more, listen to the interview with Ms. Moffat and Ms. Thomas by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 1, 2020 - COASTERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER BORDER ENTRY REFUSALS
"Why can't us Coasters cross over the border today into Labrador if our neighbors in Labrador can now come and shop freely in Blanc-Sablon? We have had 0 COVID-19 cases on the Lower North Shore since the beginning of the pandemic!"
This is the pressing question and statement of the day, which was asked over and over to CFBS this morning by residents of the Lower North Shore. CFBS has been flooded with phone calls and messages since opening the station this morning, as news quickly spread that the Quebec controlled check point at the border in Blanc-Sablon was removed early this morning. Hello Big Land? Not just yet. Residents on the Quebec side of the border were upset to find out that this still meant that entry into neighboring Labrador would not be permitted, as the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador check point was still in place.
So what does this mean?
Quebec has lifted check point restrictions for the Lower North Shore, Blanc-Sablon and Kegaska, to continue with the province's plan of deconfinement. Residents can now travel from one area to the next, but recommendation to limit travel to essential is still given as a suggestion. If you travel outside of your region, self isolation is now recommended to Quebecers, but no longer mandatory.
Why can't we go to Labrador?
Labrador's guidelines for travel have not yet changed to welcome in non-essential travel from outside the province. That means, for now, it is a no to taking a pleasure ride for shopping and taking in some beautiful Labrador scenery. CFBS was speaking this morning with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, she confirmed that a meeting had taken place today between local leaders on both sides of the border to have a discussion about the remaining Labrador/Quebec border check point controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador. The general consensus of the meeting seemed to be positive, as was also confirmed by Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, on a social media post on her Facebook page. But this does not mean that we will be seeing this check point lifted in the next day or so, another meeting was to take place tonight between the local leaders and then at the end of the week with Premier Dwight Ball, as mentioned today at the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador COVID-19 press briefing.
CFBS also attended this press briefing to address questions about the Quebec/Labrador border in neighboring Blanc-Sablon/L'Anse au Clair, and if we could get a timeline of when it will be lifted for Quebecers to gain entry. Although positive comments were made by Premier Ball addressing the close ties of the border communities, importance of cross border business and the camaredie of Labrador South with the Lower North Shore in not seeing a border between our two provinces, one important factor remains, Quebec right now has more cases and as their neighbor, Newfoundland/Labrador will have to take this into consideration.
Upon questioning, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, also stated that non essential travel by Newfoundland or Labradorian residents into a non-bordering community of Quebec would require 14 days of isolation and also discussed the cross border understanding that was in place for essential workers, students attending school and those seeking essential services. But the answer was not clear when CFSB asked Dr. Fitzpatrick about Labrador residents coming into Quebec for shopping since the border is now open for them to enter into Quebec, as once again essential movement was mentioned, however reports from locals today state that many Labrador residents were seen at the local stores in Blanc-Sablon, raising many questions by local residents.
So is the border being monitored by the Government of Newfoundland/Labradaor patrol on a 24 hour basis? The answer currently is no.
At 4:40 pm (Quebec time), CFBS went to the border to check in on how things were going to find no one was there. The Government of Newfoundland/Labrador check point is not currently being patrolled from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am (NFLD time). With this knowledge widely being shared on social media, the question raised by many is: Does this make sense to tell Quebecers that they cannot enter for non-essential reasons during the day, but no one is there to enforce the rules at night?
Important to note, a local resident of Blanc-Sablon was at the Quebec/Labrador border location while I was there watching the passing traffic. He told me that he was taking a tally of Quebec and Labrador license plates and the direction of movement. After a 1 hour time frame from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (Quebec time), this was the traffic that he had noted:
It is not clear however on the purpose of travel for these vehicles, if they were indeed those travelling for essential cross border reasons. But one has to wonder if leaving people to decide themselves on if they should cross the border during non-patrolled hours is the right approach to take.
CFBS will continue to follow the developments at the local Quebec/ Labrador border as they unfold.
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 1, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was at the Quebec/ Labrador border this morning to verify if the check point has now been removed there, which was being patrolled by the Sûreté du Québec under provincial directives since March 28, 2020.
Speaking this morning with Officer Jonathan Harvey with the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon, he has confirmed that the check points they were patrolling are now removed at the Quebec/Labrador border, the federal dock, and the airport in Blanc-Sablon, as well as the control point in Kegaska.
Officer Harvey also stated that the Sûreté du Québec will continue their presence at all prior check point areas for sensitization of the population, as well as to ensure peace and safety. The region is now open, so now isolation from travel outside the region is recommended, but not mandatory. Also, should anyone have any questions regarding travel, or info about COVID-19, please call the Info COVID-19 line at 1-877-644-4545.
Speaking this morning with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, she informed me that a meeting had taken place today that she had attended by phone with with Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, Chad Letto, Mayor of L'anse au Clair and Chair Person for the Combined Councils of Labrador, representatives from the Newfoundland/Labrador health department, along with Mayor Roderick Fequet of the Municipality of Bonne-Espérance, and Warden Randy Jones of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent. Mayor Beaudoin said the purpose of the meeting was to have a discussion about the remaining Labrador/Quebec border check point controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador.
Mayor Beaudoin said that she feels it was a positive table discussion. All the information gathered from this meeting will now be presented to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of Health.
Mayor Beaudoin also expressed her disappointment that the information regarding the border being open was made aware to her by a news story shared on social media, rather than a call to notify her office or the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent in advance regarding the Lower North Shore check points, as would be expected as leaders of the region.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 28, 2020 - MAYOR WANDA BEAUDOIN GIVES AN UPDATE TO THE POPULATION
An update from the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 21, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was speaking today with Gabrielle Anderson-Shattler, the new member coordinator at Voyages Coste. Working from Chevery, Gabrielle will be able to assist members of Coste with marketing strategies, member development, and contribute with the implementation of a three year development plan among other things.
Listen to the interview with Ms. Anderson-Shattler by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS – MAY 13, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore.
Coasters have been asking if there is a date set for the opening up of the Lower North Shore check points, especially since the Premier began giving dates for the lifting some road blocks this month. At the CISSS de la Côte-Nord press briefing today, it was stated that Public Health has extended dates for the road check points in Blanc-Sablon, Kegaska, Sacré-Coeur, and Tadoussac, until at least May 31st. The roadblock east of Sept-Îles will be moved to Kegaska by Friday, opening up the Minganie MRC.
This decision that was announced this afternoon by Deputy Director General, Dyane Benoît, was approved earlier this morning by most of the elected leaders of the Côte-Nord. For the Lower North Shore, the date of lifting the control points remains undetermined. All residents are asked to continue the integration of social distancing measures, and to avoid any gatherings outside of household units.
The importance of wearing an artisanal mask in public settings was also discussed, especially in situations where a person cannot respect the social distancing of 2 meters. To do shopping, if wearing an artisanal mask, it can give better protection to you and those around you. Hand washing and and social distancing cannot be stressed enough, those with any symptoms are reminded to call 1-877-644-4545.
Dr. Richard Facheoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, also gave an an update regarding a new COVID-19 case confirmed on the North Shore today in MRC of Sept-Rivières. It has been two weeks that the North Shore had no new cases announced, until today. Although it is important to note that with the opening of regions, the CISSS had already stated that a reemergence of cases could be expected. Of the 114 confirmed cases currently on the North Shore, 109 are cured as of today, leaving only 5 active cases in the region. Residents of the Lower North Shore can expect to see increased COVID testing in the coming days, as the CISSS plans to increase testing in isolated areas throughout the North Shore. The goal is to watch the spread of the virus. The testing will take place in schools, workplaces and the penitentiary as well.
Caregivers were also mentioned in the press brief today, caregivers are reminded to watch their health for symptoms of COVID-19, and should they feel ill, to not present themselves at their post. To answer questions from the population about family caregivers integration into family work areas, you are invited to call 1-833-677-6243.
With the fact that the Lower North Shore has had 0 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic, many local residents have been asking CFBS to inquire if some restrictions could be lifted within the Lower North Shore territory, like possibly allowing small social gatherings of 5 people, or if seniors could have some of their restrictions lifted, like a visit from a family member. The response to this question today from Dr. Ricahrd Facheoun is: “We are currently evaluating several options and as soon as a decision is made it will be communicated to the provincial level very quickly.”
Information was also requested by CFBS regarding those who travel off the territory. For example: If you live in a household with a person who has just traveled to say, Quebec City, the traveler is being asked to isolate upon return. But, the other members of the household who did not travel are not required to isolate as well. This leaves many questions as to why the whole household unit does not need to isolate.
Dr. Facheoun stated that isolation after returning from a trip outside of the region is "preventive isolation." So, the other family members who have not traveled do not need to be in solitary confinement. However, if the person in isolation has symptoms, is tested or becomes ill, then the other members will be in isolation as well.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 12, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was in contact last week with the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding information on important questions that were sent in to CFBS by our listening audience. The questions are regarding different COVID-19 situations for the population of the Lower North Shore, and what protocols are in place for these situations.
Pascal Paradis, Communications advisor, Human Resources, Communications and Legal Affairs for the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, responded by email with the answers, the following is his response to our inquiries after consulting with Public Health:
1. What is the position of the CISSS regarding health measures for the fisherman of the Lower North Shore returning to the water with a lack of essential services at the wharves they will be docked at, like running water and washrooms? Do you feel this will fit within the health requirements?
Answer: Measures were discussed with the MRC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the CISSS and the Fisherman’s Association, to everyone’s satisfaction, and they will be implemented.
2. Will there be isolation requirements asked of fishermen when returning home if they fished in another region?
Answer: A protocol was set out and measures are provided in this regard; otherwise, isolation is recommended outside work.
3. There are families in each community that have special situations where they should be allowed to visit another family member's home, like humane reasons, or for those with decreased mental health. Is the CISSS working with public health to allow certain situations to be approved with the local authorities?
Answer: We are awaiting developments in this regard. If there are critical situations, such as humanitarian reasons, mental health, etc., the CISSS must be contacted in order to implement the appropriate measures.
4. Following the death of a COVID patient if they are from the Lower North Shore, can their body be repatriated back to their community and if so, would the body need to be cremated or embalmed?
Answer: Yes, the body can be repatriated, based on the acceptance of air carriers and following their conditions. The INSPQ published regulations and recommendations on that matter. There is no obligation to cremate the body if safe transportation is possible. However, the time factor poses a limit, because according to the protocol, we have 48 hours to dispose of a body that was refrigerated but not embalmed.
5. If a COVID patient passes away in a community without crematory services, is there a burial protocol that would have to be adhered to, can there be transmission of the virus from a deceased body?
Answer: Yes, according to the regulations published by the INSPQ, there may be a risk of transmission from a deceased body; that is why we must follow the INSPQ regulations.
6. Is the CISSS currently working on a deconfinement plan for the Lower North Shore, or are we not yet at this stage in planning for the Lower North Shore?
Answer: The different steps are currently being set out, based on the provincial plan. More details to come.
CFBS thanks Pascal Paradis for taking the time to answer the questions we had sent. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 or symptoms, you can call 1-877-644-4545 or local 1-418-644-4545.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 8, 2020 - BLANC-SABLON, QC. TO OLD FORT BAY, QC.
A simple thank you seems so inadequate to thank all of the essential employees who are risking their lives during these challenging times to make sure that our families are safe. CFBS decided that it was only fitting to honour all the essential and front line workers in our broadcast audience, from Blanc-Sablon to Old Fort Bay, by hosting an Essential Workers Day on our airwaves beginning at 8am this morning. Listeners were treated to speeches from local leaders; the Mayor of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, the Mayor of Bonne-Espérance, Roderick Fequet, the Warden of the MRC du Golfe du Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones, as well as a message of thanks to the local essential workers from the Coasters Association.
The event was a day filled with great music, many talented local artists from the Lower North Shore submitted songs to CFBS after a request was placed on the Facebook group for Lower North Shore talent called 'Back Home Connection.' There were so many awesome songs sent to us that we just have to share them with you, scroll to the end of this article the hear the speeches and music. Even our dear friend, Newfoundland artist Jim Payne, joined in on the honouring. Jim sent us a special song as well for the event, which you can find below. The audience were also invited to send in special messages to the essential workers and local businesses expressing their thanks.
CFBS invited the communities to submit the names of local essential workers since the beginning of this week on our Facebook page. In total, almost 300 names were submitted of residents from Old Fort to Blanc-Sablon. The names were entered into our prize draw of fabulous items donated by the communities and municipalities for the workers. A huge thank you to: Velma Butt, Melvina Maurice, Viola Ryland, Sherry Lee Letto, Lloyd Hobbs, Betty Hobbs, Dorothy Griffin, Lois Woodland, Lorraine Griffin, Koren Wellman, the Municipality of Bonne-Espérance, and the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, for the generous donations of the prizes.
To the essential workers, we thank you for your commitment and dedication; thank you for your compassion, collaboration, and courage; thank you for providing care and the much needed local services, most importantly, thank you for giving us hope and bringing us light during these times of uncertainty and fear. You are the true heroes and we appreciate you and your sacrifices, more than words can say. From all your friends at CFBS radio.
Listen to the speeches and songs by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the file).
Speeches and messages from local leaders for the event:
Songs from talented artists for the event:
Thanks again to all from CFBS radio for making our event fabulous!
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 7, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
Parents on the Lower North Shore were faced with a very big decision recently, regarding if the time was right to send their children back to school. The Littoral school board begins school again on Monday May 11th, on a voluntary basis for primary students. Many parents have been voicing their opinions on the matter on social media, some are for, some are against the idea, and others are deciding to take the wait and see approach on if the time is right.
Students will have to adapt to the new reality of school life during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many parents to question how the children will accept the new restrictions that they will have to follow with social distancing of 2 metres, increased hygiene measures, and no extracurricular activities among other changes. The school board will have a new routine of hygiene measures to prevent an infection in the CSL schools. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers will be available throughout the schools for easy access.
A letter sent to parents last week from the Administrator of the CSL, Mr. Philip Joycey, stressed that "A safe, healthy and successful return to school is our priority."
CFBS reached out to Mr. Joycey to inquire on the projected attendance numbers of the CSL schools to reflect what is the amount of students returning to classes on Monday. Here is the breakdown by percentage of students in each CSL school sent to CFBS by email from Mr. Joycey, CSL Administrator:
Ecole Kegaska - Kegaska - 100%
Ecole St. Joseph - Port Menier - 100%
Ecole Gabriel Dionne - Tête-à-la-Baleine - 100%
Ecole Mecatina - La Tabatiere - 92 %
Ecole Scheffer - Blanc Sablon - 39 %
Ecole St. Augustine - St Augustine - 64%
Ecole Harrington - Harrington Harbour - 50%
Ecole Netagamiou - Chevery - 50%
Ecole Mountain Ridge - Old Fort Bay - 12%
By email, My. Joycey also stated that parents whose children are not currently registered, must notify the school one week in advance of sending their child back to school. On-line resources will still be available until the end of the school year.
Important to note, secondary school students at this time will not be returning to class under the current guidelines. However, secondary students are to be contacted by their teachers, as well as to receive educational materials at home.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 6, 2020 - NORTH SHORE
A search is underway currently in Minganie for survivors following an incident on the water involving a canoe that saw 2 individuals sent overboard into the water on the Petite Rivière du Milieu.
Speaking with Denis Chartier of the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon this morning, he confirmed that the SQ is currently involved in the search. Mr. Chartier said that 1 man is currently missing from Natashquan following the accident, the other individual involved was found alive, the current state of his health is not known.
Mr. Chartier also said that a Sûreté du Québec helicopter from Baie-Comeau is on its way to the area from Baie-Johan-Beetz and Aguanish to assist in the search for the still missing individual as well as a team of divers.
The local Rangers are also assisting in the search effort. More to come ....
Warden of the MRC, Mr. Randy Jones, not pleased with DFO's decision to go ahead with the fishery for our region
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 3, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
The Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones, is not pleased with the recent decision of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to go ahead with the fishery on the Lower North Shore. Fishermen in Eastern Quebec were asking Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to postpone the fishing season to ensure workers and residents of small fishing towns aren't unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19.
CFBS obtained a copy of the email written on May 1, 2020 to Minister Jonatan Julien, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region, which was written by Warden Randy Jones, expressing his displeasure with the recent refusal of the request of the Association of fishermen of the Lower North Shore to close the fishing season for 2020 on the Lower North Shore territory.
In the email, Mr. Jones stated the following:
"I have just been informed that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has said no to the request of the Association of fishermen of the Lower North Shore to close the fishing for 2020 on our territory. I am insulted and completely disappointed with this decision.
Everyday, we see the Prime Minister of Canada in front of the cameras telling people how important it is to comply with government guidelines. The 2 meters distancing, to wash hands, and stay in isolation. It is the same thing for our Premier of Quebec. It's always the same message. The amount of people becoming infected continues to increase and our province has double the numbers with more population like Ontario. As of yesterday, 944 more cases. I know I'm not a genius, but there's something wrong with this picture.
We have been in isolation for almost two months and the fishing season will open and now no isolation with the boats from Newfoundland, the boats of Sept-Iles, of the Magdalen Islands, and all the other villages that will end up in Kegaska. We have been informed that just for unloading on the dock, they are going to have 27 people, not counting fishermen. In addition, Hydro Quebec is about to return with another 100 people to continue their work on electrical line. The population of this village will triple.
The Lower North Shore has 16 villages, and for all practical purposes, they are 16 CHSLD's. From Kegaska to Blanc Sablon, we are all an endangered population. And I sincerely believe that with the actions taken by our governments the last nails have just been put in our coffin.
Fisheries and Oceans and MAPAQ did not consider it important to consult us to find out if we were able to comply with the guidelines in place by the authorities. From Kegaska to Blanc Sablon, there is no dock that is able to give showers and toilet for fishermen. Not just one, but none of them. Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and MAPAQ, are all in the same boat and are too concerned about politics, rather than doing the right thing.
That Being said, for the safety of my population, I ask for an emergency meeting with our two Deputies, Our Minister of Regions, the Minister of MAPAQ, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. and our Doctor of Public Health, Dr. Trepanier. In addition, the director and president of the Associations of fishermen. It's really not right to endanger the lives of our people." - Email from Mr. Randy Jones, Mayor of Gros Mecatina and Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent.
Speaking with Mr. Jones this morning, he informed me that he is in the process of having a meeting this afternoon with Marilène Gill, Vice-Chair on the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans, with Dyane Benoit, the Deputy Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, with Marc Fortin, the President Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, and possibly Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, the Public Health expert. In this meeting, Mr. Jones hopes that they can try to find a solution to this pressing situation.
Mr. Jones said that this a serious health issue to the Lower North Shore people, "We are not ok to send our population out on the waters and fish in these conditions, then to return home and to possibly put their families in danger" he added.
CFBS will continue to follow this story, more details to come.
"If we are going to make a mistake, but on the side of safety, then I can live with that" says Randy Jones, Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent about keeping the LNS check points in place
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 1, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
An update for the Lower North Shore from the Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones. We discussed the position of the MRC on opening up the Lower North Shore check points, ongoing issues with the fishery, and requests for vehicles to be transported on the M/V Bella Desgagnés, which is operated by Relais Nordik Inc.
Listen to the interview with Mr. Jones by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 30, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore. The press briefing was led by Ms. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, and Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, Public Health expert.
Ms. Dyane Benoît, Deputy Director General, opened the briefing by speaking about the recent announcement by the Government of Quebec for the planned opening of certain regions of the province. For the North Shore, the planned opening will be on May 18th, Minganie and the Lower North Shore’s control points will remain without an opening date at this time. The CISSS asks that people avoid travel from one region to the other if not essential. Working from home is still encouraged if possible.
Preventative measures are still asked to be respected; such as social distancing of 2 metres, and hand washing. Public gatherings continue to be prohibited, even with the re-opening of regions and nicer weather, we must abstain from this.
With regards to activities resuming with many businesses, the population is invited to visit the website of l'Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) at www.inspq.qc.ca for proper measures to be put in place for businesses and shops for their re-opening. There are printable checklists and prevention guides for all workplaces. These tools are for employers and employees of all sectors. The CISSS is preparing in the coming days/weeks to support the concerned partners of businesses that will be opening, schools and daycare centres.
The CISSS de la Côte-Nord is counting on the responsibility of all to respect the instructions put in place since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were no new cases this week on the North Shore, stated Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord. “You know, it’s true that we have started the progressive adjustments.”
According to Dr. Fachehoun, there will need to be three conditions to optimize results for the progressive adjustments:
Dr. Fachehoun would like to remind the population that the actions of individuals is important for limiting the transmission of COVID-19, especially during the adjustment phase. We do not want to risk going backwards.
With the recent announcement by the Government of Quebec of police check points and road blocks beginning to be lifted in the Month of May, CFBS inquired as to what is the position of the CISSS regarding the lifting of road blocks on the Lower North Shore in the near future. Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, Public Health expert, answered that he had spoken with the mayors of the Lower North Shore on Tuesday regarding this. The mayors are requesting that check points and road blocks remain in place. It is the position of the CISSS to continue the points of control on the Lower North Shore and Minganie until May 18th, at which time it will be reassessed if the need should be extended further.
At the last CISSS press brief, CFBS inquired about the services available for mental health in the region, especially with the added stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CISSS had reminded the population of the Info Social 811 telephone service line, but CFBS asked today for clarification if there are follow ups done with callers who contact the Info Social 811 service. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, stated that there are follow ups done with anyone who contacts the service, and that follow ups are conducted by a psychologist or a social worker.
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 29, 2020: BLANC-SABLON, Q.C – YEAST SHORTAGE ON THE LNS
We have all heard the stories of the mass buying of toilet paper that had taken place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as people feared that there would be a lack of the sanitary product, store shelves were quickly emptied. But now the newest grocery item to see a decrease, or lack there of on store shelves, is bread yeast.
This fact hit home when my elderly mother called me yesterday evening from my hometown of St. Augustine, all flustered, "Is there any yeast to buy in Blanc-Sablon?" she asked. She went on to explain that there was no yeast to buy locally, and with my Dad loving homemade bread like the air we breathe, she was in a frantic search for this now precious commodity.
Joining the yeast search effort, I placed calls to the local grocery stores in Blanc-Sablon and Lourdes, just to be confirmed the very same, that yeast is currently not available. Perry Barney explained to me this morning, "We had a very limited supply since a few weeks ago, and now when we try to order more, we are told that the item is out of stock or not available."
Feeling defeated in my search coming up empty, I placed a call back to St. Augustine and broke the news to my Mom. "Well that's no good, what can we do?" she said. And then the plan was hatched, "You can mail what you have left in your cupboard!"
So through the craziness of this pandemic, and the stories that we will all tell when it is finally over, I will be heading to Canada Post today to mail my Mom the precious yeast from my pantry.
So why is there a shortage of yeast currently?
Bread production is up between 15 and 20 per cent since the COVID-19 crisis hit hard in North America, with increased demand for bread products from both industrial customers, and from the general population. Yeast is one of the key ingredients in bread, along with flour and water. Bread sales have jumped significantly, as has the amount of people baking bread at home.
So treasure the yeast you currently have, as for now it is a luxury!
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 28, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore. The press briefing was led by Ms. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, and CISSS Medical Consultant, Dr. Richard Fachehoun.
Dyane Benoît began by speaking about Quebec Premier François Legault’s decision to send elementary children back to school. Ms. Benoît reiterated the fact that even thought certain activities and businesses will recommence, like daycare centers and primary schools, that it must be a slow and gradual deconfinement. “We must not act like the pandemic is over; we still have to take this seriously,” she added.
The CISSS de la Côte-Nord continues to ask residents to respect the social distancing requirement of 2 metres, and reminds of the importance of hand washing. Social gatherings are still not permitted, families and get togethers are not allowed. It was also said that the deconfinement of the population would be progressive. Ms. Benoît stated, “We understand that with the weather becoming nicer, people want to get out and go to the beach, or play sports. We understand it’s tempting, but we are asking the public not to go in this direction.”
For the moment, there is no questioning by the Government of Quebec concerning the police checkpoints that remain in place to limit travel to the essential traffic only.
Ms. Benoît also understands that grandparents are waiting to see their grand children. “However, at this point, elderly people need to remain in confinement. The CISSS de la Côte-Nord recommends to continue levels of communication with elderly loved ones threw social medial/video chat,” said Ms. Benoît. She also reminded that the elderly population should only leave their homes for essential activities, or for emergencies. It was also reiterated that if anyone has medical questions or if in need of a medical consultation for COVID-19, to please call 1-877-644-4545. If anyone is feeling anxious or stressed, to please call the phone line 811 Info-Social for assistance.
Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, spoke briefly about the amount of confirmed COVID cases on the North Shore. To date there are 113 in total, of which 85 people are considered cured, and that 28 people are currently in self isolation. Questions arose regarding the Government of Quebec website, which noted today that there are 114 cases of COVID-19 on the North Shore. Dr. Fachehoun answered that the CISSS assessment of 113 cases is indeed correct. A problem in the computer algorithm system is the origin of the difference between the numbers reported on the Government of Quebec website.
It was mentioned last week that there would be clear directives released from the CISSS de la Côte-Nord to the public regarding senior COVID cases being sent by medevac, and if an escort could join the patient at hospital. CFBS inquired for an update on if a decision had been made regarding the senior medical transports. Dyane Benoît, Deputy Director General of the CISSS, answered that although certain rules apply for children under the age of 18, for adults at the moment it is not possible with the evacuation regulations. Although, she added, that for humane reasons, or case-by-case, there can be other ways of transporting people.
With the return of elementary children to school in May, CFBS inquired on the current position of the CISSS regarding isolation measures for seniors on the Lower North Shore and if they too will be allowed to resume some normal daily activities in the near future. In response, Ms. Benoît said that for all of the elderly population of the region, it will be important to respect the social distancing protocols, it is going to be a gradual deconfinement.
CFBS also brought up the lack of mental health services on the Lower North Shore and inquired on the plan of action of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord to provide mental health care to the population, especially with the added stress of COVID-19. Ms. Benoît acknowledged that on the side of psychological counselling, there are certain difficulties in terms of access to staff, but once again reminded that 811 Info Social, option 2, is available to all of the population, and there will always be someone who is available to respond to calls for this type of service.
CFBS asked about the re-emergence of COVID-19 cases on the North Shore recently. Last week there had been two days of 0 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the North Shore region, and then there were new cases confirmed again this past weekend, and if this was possibly due to delayed test results. Dr. Richard Fachehoun answered that it is not due to delayed results from the tests. For two days, there were no new cases, and then the CISSS had received a positive test. He also stated that currently, there are no significant delays when it comes to receiving COVID test results. “We are actually averaging two to three days and then we have the test results, we even get results practically the same day that the tests are taken” added Dr. Fachehoun.
LOCAL NEWS – APRIL 27, 2020: BLANC-SABLON, QC.
A second check point has now been set up at the Québec/Labrador border as of this morning. This new check point is a directive of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to gather information by way of a survey of those who are crossing the border on the Labrador side, and also to ensure that those who are entering or exiting the province of Newfoundland and Labrador have a valid reason to do so.
Chad Letto, Mayor of L'anse au Clair and Chair Person for the Combined Councils of Labrador, said that the new check point on the Labrador side is a provincial directive to control the Labrador border. It is currently being overseen by officers from the Forestry and Land divisions (Wildlife, Land and Forestry). The officers will be monitoring the movement on the Labrador border, gathering statistics, and completing a questionnaire with motorists.
Mr. Letto said that the agents at the border had recently received training in health and security measures for the operation of the border check point, which included procedure training and tips on how to approach people for this type of questioning. Mr. Letto also said that The RCMP cannot patrol the Labrador/Québec border, as this directive is not in their mandate.
Denis Chartier, of the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon, also confirmed the set up of the other border check point today by email. He stated that as of this morning, there were vehicles of both the Wildlife office and a representative of Labrador Health at the border check point. Mr. Chartier mentioned that motorists will now experience an added delay to cross the border of approximately 5 to 10 minutes, in order to complete the questionnaire.
CFBS has been following the directives taking place on the Québec side of the border since March 28, 2020 when the COVID-19 directive from the Québec government to patrol the border for essential traffic was put in place. This check point has been monitored by the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon and will continue to be in place to ensure that the provincial directives are being adhered to on this side of the border confirmed Mr. Denis Chartier, of the Sûreté du Québec.
LOCAL NEWS - Sunday April 26, 2020 - BLANC-SABLON
The local Food Bank in Blanc-Sablon is ready to serve those in need of their services during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the service is open 12 months a year and available currently for the communities from Blanc-Sablon to Old Fort Bay.
Brenda Joncas, a volunteer member of the local food bank, spoke with me today about the services they offer through the Notre Dame Church in Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, how to contact the service for those in need, confidentiality, and the discussions taking place for the expansion of the service to the whole Lower North Shore region.
Listen to the interview with Brenda Joncas by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - Thursday April 23, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
The CISSS de la Côte-Nord updated its COVID-19 webpage, as of 1:15 pm this afternoon there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 announced on the Lower North Shore. Most importantly to note, this is the first day that 0 new cases were announced for the North Shore territory.
In total, there are 112 confirmed cases in the North Shore region since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Here is the current breakdown by MRC:
The daily updates are given by the CISSS on their website:
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 23, 2020 - PAL AIRLINES TO SUSPEND THEIR PASSENGER SERVICE ON THE LOWER NORTH SHORE
PAL Airlines states in a press release issued today that it has made the difficult commercial decision to temporarily suspend their current passenger and cargo services to the Quebec Lower North Shore.
The service from Blanc Sablon-Natashquan-La Romaine-Chevery-St. Augustine-Sept-Iles will operate its final flight on Thursday, April 23, 2020. PAL Airlines will continue to monitor the current situation and assess a potential return to service.
Sept-Iles and Blanc Sablon will remain important destinations for PAL Airlines connecting directly to multiple points in our extensive network throughout Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Air Borealis will continue to operate mail delivery flights to the Quebec North Shore. Mail delivery flights will operate as usual on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 22, 2020 - MAYOR WANDA BEAUDOIN GIVES AN UPDATE TO THE POPULATION
An update from the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 22, 2020: LOWER NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the Lower North Shore. The press briefing was led by Ms. Dyane Benoît, Deputy Director General, Ms. Constance Monger, Territory Coordinator for the Lower North Shore, and Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, medical advisor to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord.
Ms. Constance Monger, Territory Coordinator for the Lower North Shore, spoke about role that the Canadian Rangers currently have on the Lower North Shore territory. The Rangers are raising awareness to residents about social distancing and health safety, as well reminding the population that no gatherings are permitted. If needed, they can offer logistic support to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord. The mandate for the Canadian Rangers Patrol Groups is set through Civil Security. The request for the activities of the Rangers in the communities are a collaboration with the CISSS, the MRC and Public Health. Every task that is requested of the Rangers can be revised, as needed. It was stated by Ms. Monger that the role of the Rangers is to offer services that is not already being offered in the communities. If stores are already offering grocery delivery, then they would continue to do so, the Rangers assitance is for services not already available in the community.
A designated clinic is now open at Blanc-Sablon for anyone experiencing any type of flu like symptoms, an appointment must be made in advance for a visit by calling 1-877-644-4545. For the Lower North Shore communities with a CLSC, you may contact them to arrange an appointment if you have any flu like symptoms.
The CISSS also spoke about services for those who may experience any type of psychological distress. The Info Social phone number 811 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can assist a person in need with help by speaking with a professional. The CISSS also spoke about the mental health of children and youth, with reminders to be vigilant if someone is in distress. If you are concerned about a young person, do not hesitate to contact health services.
Ms. Monger also wished to thank the population on behalf of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, for abiding by the requests that have been issued to the public and for following the guidelines thus far for the safety of the communities.
With COVID test results now being studied by laboratories on the North Shore, CFBS asked what is the estimated wait time presently for results of a test taken from the Lower North Shore. It was stated by Ms. Constance Monger that the time frame would depend on the transport, weather conditions and the time of the flight. At this time, it is estimated the results could be received on the Lower North Shore in 24 to 48 hours.
The CISSS de la Cote Nord had requested that the medical air transporter Air Liaison, limit their capacity to 8 passengers per flight. When inquired as to what steps would the CISSS take with Air Liaison to ensure the safety of patients if the airline would not comply to requested maximum capacity on board a flight, Ms. Constance Monger stated that the CISSS had issued the directive already to Air Liaison to have no more than 8 passengers on board a flight. Recently, they have reminded Air Liaison again of this directive. No other details were given at this time.
CFBS asked about the medevac plane stationed in Blanc-Sablon, and if the set up on the plane is the same as the one based in Sept-Iles for COVID cases. It was already stated in a previous CISSS press brief that this plane can also be used to transport COVID-19 cases if needed on the Lower North Shore. When asked what changes would be needed to outfit the plane for a COVID evacuation, it was stated by Ms. Monger that the equipment on the plane does not change, it is the protective gear that changes when dealing with a COVID case. When dealing with a COVID case on a medevac flight, the nurse, pilot and anyone else on board the flight would need to be wearing the proper protective gear during the transport.
It was also discussed about deconfinement issues, as recently it is being discussed in the media of regions discussing the possibility of allowing certain services to be resumed. CFBS inquired as to if the Lower North Shore is being discussed as an area to possibly begin deconfinement since there are no current COVID-19 cases in our region. Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, the CISSS medical consultant, said that deconfinement would need to be progressive in any area. The Lower North Shore has no risk at the moment of COVID, however, with the amount of elderly population in communities and those with chronic issues in the region, to experience an outbreak would be a major challenge for the region. Physicians and doctors at the CISSS would need to evaluate the situation further. Dr. Trépanier stated that currently they are not prepared to open up the Lower North Shore.
CFBS asked about the senior medical cases who have already been evacuated off the Lower North Shore, if Public Heath should decide to allow seniors to have an escort in the near future, would those already in hospital from our region be allowed to have a family member join them there. Ms. Constance Monger said that this would be evaluated on a case by case basis.
It was also asked by other media on the Lower North Shore if people would be made aware if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in their Lower North Shore community. It was answered that COVID cases would not be announced by Public Health, only as a region by MRC. However, Public Health may issue a letter to the Mayor of the respective Municipality to notify there is a positive case confirmed in their community.
It was also discussed about the new Transport Canada directive regarding passengers now required to wear homemade face masks on public transportation, such as airlines and helicopters. The CISSS stated that this is for the protection of all when travelling by any means, it can also be used within the community as additional protection. Important to note is that masks are not supplied by the transporters, instead it is up to the individuals to have a homemade face mask to be permitted to travel.
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 22, 2020: LOWER NORTH SHORE - CISSS DE LA COTE NORD HAD REQUESTED PASSENGER CAPACITY LIMIT ON AIR LIAISON FLIGHTS DUE TO COVID-19
During the press brief held yesterday afternoon (April 21) by the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, a question was asked regarding the procedure for the hospital air carrier, Air Liaison, after passengers were complaining of flights being to full capacity last week on the Lower North Shore and that no directives were being issued by the airline staff for passenger distancing.
Dyane Benoît claimed to have been aware of the situation and that an intervention had been made with the transporter to resolve the situation. Ms. Benoît, the Deputy Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, stated that the CISSS had transmitted clear protocols to the air transport, particularly regarding the disinfection of the aircraft.
CFBS reached out to Pascal Paradis, Communication advisor, Human Resources and Communications of Legal Affairs for the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, to obtain more details on what protocol the CISSS had asked of its medical air carrier, Air Liaison. This was the response received from Mr. Paradis by email:
"Distancing between passengers is on a voluntary basis on the part of carriers. Transport Canada has not issued a directive on this matter. A directive has been issued by Transport Canada on the arrangements to be made when booking and before boarding. The CISSS de la Côte-Nord asked the carrier not to take more than 8 passengers per flight."
CFBS was made aware of the situation yesterday morning when a lady from Blanc-Sablon, who was on board an Air Liaison flight last week for medical reasons, had mentioned that passengers were not given any directions on social distancing, were seated in close contact to each other on the flight, and that the plane was near full to capacity.
CFBS has also reached out to Air Liaison for a statement regarding their protocols, more information to come.
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 21, 2020: LOWER NORTH SHORE - CISSS DE LA COTE NORD OFFERS INTERPRETER SERVICES IN ENGLISH AT SEPT-ILES
An English interpreter and accompaniment service is being offered in the Sept-Îles facilities of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord as announced on the CISSS Facebook page.
This service is for anyone who is English speaking and travelling to Sept-Îles to receive Health or Social services.
The role of the interpreter includes:
• Welcome clientele and inform them of the available services
• Support clientele in English language during an episode of care
• Guide the English speaking clientele to the adequate resources
• Link Services
• Act as an interpreter
Call 418-965-7621 to access the service or pick up the phone at the entrance of the emergency department at the main entrance of the hospital, at 45 rue du Père-Divet in Sept-Îles.