COVID-19 outbreak declared at First Nation in northern B.C. as cases soar to 32

Number of positive cases soars to 32

FILE – Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema addressed Kelowna city council. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)

FILE – Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema addressed Kelowna city council. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)

Multiple health agencies are working together to bring additional resources to support the Canim Lake Band, where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared, due to what Interior Health describes as “rapid spread.”

Interior Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the community, located approximately 40 kilometres east of 100 Mile House, on Monday, Jan. 11, after identifying 32 positive cases.

The outbreak comes three days after Canim Lake Band launched a community-wide lockdown Jan. 8 after the number of positive cases rose to nine.

“We are advising members to be prepared for at least one month,” said Demian Pettman, emergency operations centre communications officer with the First Nation.

CLB has an on-reserve population of 228 according to the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada.

READ MORE: Canim Lake Band focused on keeping members at home

Interior Health is overseeing COVID-19 outreach testing, contact tracing, transportation and isolation for those impacted.

Outbreak response activities are being co-ordinated together with the Nation, health officials, Emergency Management BC and others.

Medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema said aside from the lockdown, there are four nurses on-site to do testing full-time while others are making arrangements to provide access to food and medication.

She said she hopes they will be able to provide the vaccine to members this week if they can get the supply.

“We’re working very hard to protect the Elders in the community who are the most vulnerable,” Mema said.

Although the outbreak has been declared in Canim Lake, Mema noted increased COVID-19 activity has been broadly detected throughout the 100 Mile House region and Interior Health, following the Christmas break. Since Jan. 1, there have been 182 cases across Interior Health.

“It’s a very large area. I would say the Kamloops area, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Revelstoke and 100 Mile are the ones that have the most cases,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Vile; filled with racism’: Officials condemn reaction to Cowichan First Nations COVID outbreak


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