Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan are putting measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It comes as the Indigenous services minister announced there have been 15 reported cases of the novel coronavirus in those communities as of April 2.
The minister wouldn’t clarify where the 15 were, but Onion Lake Cree Nation (OLCN), north of Lloydminister, confirmed its first case.
“Pandemic committee has been dispatched and will start the tracing process to ensure containment is done effectively and efficiently. Please continue to follow all precautionary measures at your home and keep social distancing a high priority,” the statement read.
OLCN said it is also in the process of applying to the Saskatchewan Health Authority to set up a drive-through testing site.
Muskoday First Nation has also implemented border security around its community.
A press release said the security check will be in place 24/7 with checkpoints at all entrances to the community.
“Checkpoints and signage will be erected at entry points to the First Nation to prohibit individuals who are not members, residents, essential employees or individuals delivering emergency services as defined by council,” it said.
The press release said anyone caught breaking the law could face fines up to $1,000 and possible jail time.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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