Canadian Rangers Assist in Fort Albany Covid Lockdown

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Master Corporal Ruby Edwards-Wheesk, left, shows a box containing personal protective equipment to her son Wendell. The boxes are being distributed to every resident of Fort Albany during the crisis. credit Canadian Rangers
Master Corporal Ruby Edwards-Wheesk, left, shows a box containing personal protective equipment to her son Wendell. The boxes are being distributed to every resident of Fort Albany during the crisis. credit: Canadian Rangers

FORT ALBANY – Canadian Rangers are distributing personal protective equipment to every resident of Fort Albany First Nation, which has been forced into a lockdown with the discovery of a second positive case of the virus.

Chief Robert Nakogee of Fort Albany, a small Cree community on James Bay, said he is grateful to the Canadian Army for authorizing the use of members of the community’s local Ranger patrol. Rangers are part-time army reservists.

“We began distributing boxes with PPE to all the homes on Thursday and we should have them distributed to everyone by Saturday,” said Master Corporal Ruby Edwards-Wheesk. “The boxes contain hand sanitizer, masks for an adult and a child, disinfectant swipes, a thermometer, and a pamphlet on how use and dispose of the PPE, and how to isolate yourself.

“People are happy to take the box. They say thank you and they are happy to have it. We explain what’s in it and how to use it.”

The boxes contain a sign in them saying “No Visitors,” which can be placed on a door or in a window to reinforce the lockdown.

There are 184 household in the fly-in community.

“The Rangers in Albany gave us an early heads-up on the situation so that we were ready to respond immediately to the province’s request for help when it came to us,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Shane McArthur, the Canadian Army officer who commands the Rangers across the Far North of Ontario. “The chief wanted their help and I’m very pleased that we had Rangers who were ready to help support their community in this emergency. They are doing a good job.”

Chief Nakogee said he was impressed by the army’s swift response to his appeal for its help.

“The Rangers are really helping when our local resources are committed they way they are,” he said. “They do a lot for their community. They will be finished distributing the boxes by tomorrow.”


(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)