Walpole Island to enforce strict COVID-19 restrictions

Walpole Island Governance Building. (Photo courtesy of Walpole Island First Nation Council via Facebook).

Walpole Island First Nation will soon revert to strict COVID-19 restrictions that were previously in place as the number of active cases continues to climb.

A video was posted to the council’s Facebook page Friday afternoon, where Chief Charles Sampson pleaded for residents to follow restrictions.

“We’re experiencing wide-spread community transmission and low compliance with isolation and public health precautions,” said Sampson in the video.

Chief Executive Officer James Jenkins told Blackburn News that no charges or fines have been issued in regards to failure to self-isolate.

“At this point we’re trying our best to educate,” said Jenkins. However, he said they may need to change their approach if the issue persists.

In the video, Sampson said Walpole Island will return to the previous colour-coded system, starting on September 27.

“This updated plan will be communicated to community members on Monday,” he said. “Most programs are closed as of Monday. Please understand that this inconvenience is meant to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and get back to normal operations more quickly.”

Jenkins said the restrictions on Walpole Island will fall more in line with what was in effect prior to the province’s reopening plan.

Sampson urged residents — vaccinated or not — to continue to follow public health guidelines by practicing proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask when appropriate.

Jenkins could not state how many of the active cases are among vaccinated people, only that they account for a “large number”.

On Friday, Walpole Island reported 20 active COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, Lambton Public Health also reported an outbreak at Bkejwanong Children’s Centre.