Dear residents of the Pontiac,
I am very concerned with the rise of COVID-19 cases in our region in the past few weeks. I believe that it was a wise decision by our Premier to keep the schools closed until May 9th. It is the UK variant, which is highly contagious, that has been spreading through our communities. There have been children infected who have then spread it to other members of their households. We must remain vigilant and protect each other during this difficult time. We have also recently experienced an outbreak in our Pontiac Hospital. I really appreciate the CISSSO team who came up immediately to deal with this outbreak. Fortunately, everyone’s conditions are stable and no one has needed to be taken to Hull for intensive care. At this point, COVID-19 has affected 13 of our 18 municipalities, with the greatest flare ups being in Mansfield, Fort-Coulonge and Shawville. At the moment, travel between provinces is being discouraged and I ask that you please do your best to stay in the Pontiac unless it is absolutely essential.
Yesterday, Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services, announced the dates for the vaccination campaign for the general public across Québec. Over the next two weeks, all residents will be able to book their appointments for their first vaccination. The dates are as follows:
- April 30, 2021: 50 years of age and older,
- May 3, 2021: 45 years of age and older,
- May 5, 2021: 40 years of age and older,
- May 7, 2021: 35 years of age and older,
- May 10, 2021: 30 years of age and older,
- May 12, 2021: 25 years of age and older,
- May 14, 2021: 18 years of age and older;
You can book your appointment online at Quebec.ca/COVIDVACCINE or by calling 1-877-644-4545. I once again would like to thank the 40+ Pontiac residents who came forward after my call to assist in this mass vaccination effort. I look forward to hearing from the CISSSO as to when the mobile vaccine unit will be deployed in addition to extra resources being provided at the Campbell’s Bay RA. The Premier is hoping to get 75% of the province vaccinated with their first dose June 24. I encourage everyone to please take their appointments when their age group is called.
Tomorrow, the Council of Mayors and myself will be holding our virtual lac-à-l’épaule. The focus this year is forestry, which will include subjects such as the proposed Pontiac Forestry School, the MRC Pontiac strategic plan for forestry, learning about the benefits of a Pontiac community forest, and reports from stakeholders on various forestry projects. Forestry received a great deal of attention this year at our council, and this is a step in the right direction to work together.
This week we had the opportunity to hear more about our Strategic Vision for 2030, and there are some very exciting plans in the works. I would like to congratulate our Economic Development Director, Cyndy Phillips, and her staff for their hard work on this project.
I was delighted to read in the Pontiac Journal this week that the Pontiac is the second highest area of real-estate transaction in Québec. We have noticed a population boom, and record sales in most municipalities with houses, cottages and properties. We know that many people have decided to leave the city as a result of COVID-19. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all new permanent and seasonal residents to the Pontiac. Revitalization has begun!
I have personally noticed that it is difficult to find loads of top soil lately. This is a great sign that many people are recommitting themselves to gardening and growing their own vegetables. I am very happy to see this happening in our communities.
Please continue to stay vigilant in your protective measures, and keep the health of the Pontiac in your thoughts and prayers. Together Pontiac!