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).