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Tsuut’ina Nation closes schools, offices following COVID-19 exposure

A notice of school and admin office closures on the Tsuut'ina Nation on Oct. 6, 2020, following a COVID-19 exposure at a community gathering.
A notice of school and admin office closures on the Tsuut'ina Nation on Oct. 6, 2020, following a COVID-19 exposure at a community gathering. Global News

Exposure to the novel coronavirus has prompted a southern Alberta First Nation to shut down its schools and administrative offices.

Early Tuesday morning, Tsuut’ina Nation posted a notice on social media confirming “a COVID-19 infection” following a recent community gathering. Chief and council decided to exceed protocol “to protect Nation citizens.”

Read more: How decolonizing public health has helped Indigenous communities control COVID-19

The notice from Tsuut’ina Nation chief and council of the shutdown of schools and offices after a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The notice from Tsuut’ina Nation chief and council of the shutdown of schools and offices after a confirmed case of COVID-19. Facebook / Tsuut'ina Communications

Schools and admin offices on the First Nation will be closed until further notice. Contact tracing is underway, according to a Facebook post, and the chief and council are encouraging community members to get tested.

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Joel Fischer is with the Tsuut’ina Emergency Management Team and is also and registered nurse on the Nation. He said they don’t want to increase the risk to the community and made the call to close schools.

“Anytime we have one or more contacts, it can be very hard to reign that back. In and working with First Nations, our concern falls to the number of vulnerable population here that might be more than we’d see in the city,” Fischer said. “We have a larger number of elders we want to keep safe and multi-generational families in homes and want to make sure those in the households are safe too.”

According to the nation’s website, there was one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community as of Oct. 2.

In an update later Tuesday, the nation said anyone who attended a memorial feast held on Sunday, Oct. 4, is required self-isolate for 14 days, stay six feet away from anyone in their home and get tested.

Anyone who attended the wake or funeral on Oct. 5 is required to monitor for symptoms for 10 days, but they do not need to isolate, the nation said. Anyone who develops symptoms of the virus should be tested, officials said.

Nation members are told to call the testing line at 403-258-4830 to arrange a test.

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