Members of northern Manitoba First Nation self-isolating after positive COVID-19 cases

By | September 30, 2020

WINNIPEG — A northern Manitoba First Nation is providing an update after seven people in one family tested positive for COVID-19.

In a Facebook post made on Tuesday, Leroy Constant, the Chief of York Factory First Nation, said contact tracing has determined 65 people have come in contact with the positive cases.

A pandemic rapid response team has arrived in the community, and testing was expected to begin on Wednesday. In the Facebook post, Constant said the community has turned the local hotel into an isolation site, which is currently housing three people.

Grand Chief Garrison Settee with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) said the community’s leadership has acted quickly and strongly despite the growing fears of COVID-19.

“There are teams that have been deployed to do testing, there’s a machine there that will be utilized to make sure everything is being monitored, and I think they’re doing all the right things that need to be done, considering the very unfortunate circumstances of having COVID in their community,” he said in a video call from Thompson, Man. on Wednesday.

The case in the community occurred after a resident travelled to the Winnipeg Health Region looking for medical attention, Constant said this week.

Settee said the community is working to ensure support is provided to the people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are required to self-isolate. 

Settee added the outbreak has made people nervous and anxious, especially given the geographic location. York Factory First Nation is located in the community of York Landing, 937 kilometres north of Winnipeg. 

“When you have communities that have overcrowded housing, and no places to really have effective isolation, it is a concern for all First Nations, it’s always been a concern from the outset,” he said. “That is why we acted very aggressively in securing our borders because when it hits, it really hits hard. That is what we were anticipating, and were hoping would not happen, but now it has.

“Now that it’s here, our First Nations are responding in the most professional way possible.” 

The community said it won’t return to regular operations until after a full public health investigation is complete. 

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