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Remote Manitoba First Nation hits critical status on province’s pandemic response system

Click to play video 'Little Grand Rapids outbreak' Little Grand Rapids outbreak
New measures are being implemented in Little Grand Rapids First Nation as more members of the remote area have tested positive for COVID-19. Malika Karim reports – Oct 5, 2020

A Manitoba First Nation is on lockdown after 19 people tested positive for the coronavirus.

The province announced Sunday that the cases on Little Grand Rapids First Nation are connected to public events at the community’s recreation centre from Sept. 24 to 27.

Little Grand Rapids, located almost 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, has been moved to critical, or “red,” status on Manitoba’s pandemic response system.

Chief Raymond Keeper said the community has responded quickly, urging residents to stay home except when they need medical care, and to get tested immediately if they’re showing any symptoms.

Travel in and out of the community is also currently forbidden.

Read more: 51 new cases of coronavirus in Manitoba, new rules come into effect for bars and restaurants

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The province said public health officials and a rapid response team are working with the community and other partners to address the situation.

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“After receiving confirmation of positive cases in our community, we quickly responded and have moved into our next phase of pandemic planning to manage cases and keep our community safe,” Keeper said in a release Monday.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) are also on-site to help with community safety and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Currently we deployed seven individuals with the team,” said First Nations PRCT member, Melanie Mackinnon on Monday afternoon. “The team has been incredibly busy. In the first 48 hours they were able to complete upwards of 71 rapid tests.”

On-site teams will continue to support public health by conducting rapid testing and case management, including contact tracing. The team is expected to stay in the remote First Nation for at least the next ten days.

“Little Grand Rapids First Nation is experiencing a high number of cases for a smaller, remote First Nation,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

“I commend Little Grand Rapids First Nation leadership on their swift, diligent and compassionate attention to this evolving situation, and I will continue to remain in contact with them and all Nations that require support, as we act to keep everyone safe.”

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Province says they are being restricted from ordering rapid COVID-19 tests – Oct 2, 2020