SUDBURY -- The mayor of Moosonee declared a state of emergency in the community Friday as the area struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Wayne Taipale made the announcement in a video address to the community.

"I wish I had good news who provide you, but I can't but I feel very positive," Taipale said. "As of this recording, we have 35 active cases and there is testing still going on. It is quite widespread and we have to get this under control.

"The Town of Moosonee, myself and council, have decided that we will declare a state of emergency in Moosonee."

Residents are being asked to stay at home except for essential outings. Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested by calling the Moosonee Health Clinic at 705-658-2341 (hit '0' when the recording starts). It's operating on extended hours Saturday and Sunday.

Appointments to get a vaccine for anyone 18 and older can be made by calling the Moosonee Porcupine Health Office at 705-336-2294.

"We will get through this, but we need help from everybody," Taipale said. "The community let their guard down and we must put everything and every effort into getting this under control."

Residents can do their part by staying home and getting tested if they feel unwell, he said.

"If you don't do this, you could put your family in jeopardy," Taipale said. "It doesn't take much to get tested."

The number of new cases will likely keep rising before they decline, he added, urging residents "not to panic." It means more people are getting tested and officials have a more accurate picture of the situation.

"So just because the numbers are going up, it does not mean that it is bad," Taipale said.

"We will not see the numbers level off until we have everything contained and it stops being spread to the community. So do your part, please. Stay at home. Don't let your children go play with other families right now."