The Blood reserve has confirmed its first case of COVID-19, but officials were prepared for the announcement on Wednesday.
“Blood tribe has been at zero cases since the start of the pandemic,” department of health representative Martin Heavy Head said Thursday. “We’ve had a pandemic plan with our public health service since 2006 because of the H1N1 pandemic.”
They believe they have traced the case back to a workplace, which AHS is carefully monitoring.
“And AHS is doing all the contact tracking.”
While everyone on the reserve is following AHS guidelines, officials have further restricted gatherings to five people or fewer, and say all medical front-line workers are prepared with proper protocol and protection.
“We’ve been operating under the assumption that COVID-19 is already here,” Heavy Head explained.
Council and several departments also meet almost daily to reassess and coordinate their response.
“We do have some departments that run shelters,” director of emergency management Rick Soup explained.
Those shelters have been set up for individuals who aren’t displaying symptoms, to better quarantine away from crowded households. There is one for elderly members, one for singles and couples without children.
Officials add that a family shelter is in the works.
In an announcement sent out to the community on Wednesday, officials urged members to continue to practice social distancing and hygiene and to take care of one another with patience and respect.
“Our usual messages from the start have been to stay at home,” Soup said.
Their hope is that the spread stops here, especially with the donations of supplies from surrounding communities.
“We truly appreciate all that support, I think we try to extend that support to our neighbors as well,” Soup said. “We have to be able to adapt to any changes.”
With no other confirmed cases yet on the reserve, the Blood Tribe’s careful preparation may already be paying off.View link »