CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that some of the cases of COVID-19 in Hearst are from a gym.  In fact, members of the gym were only notified that they might have been exposed to the virus, not that any confirmed cases come from there.  We apologize to Rick’s Muscle World Centre for the error and the confusion it caused.

In Porcupine Health Unit territory, Hearst has been particularly hard hit with COVID-19 lately.

Eight of the last ten cases that come from the town, including one from the French catholic high school and two among staff members of the the health unit, which has been forced to close its local office.

Mayor Roger Siguoin has been in municipal politics for 27 years, and says it’s been tough on everyone.

“The employees, the employers, everyone in the community, but we have to stay positive anyway because if we can stay positive and work together we are going to come out stronger than before,” he said. “Even if its Hearst, Kap in the region here, we have to support each other. It’s about respect and I think we are gonna be okay.”

Sigouin says a friend of his who is a veteran refers to the covid-19 fight as a war.

“Back then we used to go to war with a gun, but today we have to go to the war with a mask,” the Mayor said. “So it’s always nice….respect each other, keep our distance, wash our hands, and if we want to come out of this even for Christmas we have to work together.”