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NITHA cautions of coronavirus exposures at mass events in northern Saskatchewan

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WATCH: A multi-jurisdictional coronavirus outbreak has been declared by the Saskatchewan Health Authority – Oct 7, 2020

The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) is cautioning of potential COVID-19 exposures at three mass gatherings in northern Saskatchewan.

The NITHA said individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus attended wake and funeral events in Pelican Narrows on Oct. 4 and 5 and in Waterhen Lake on Oct. 5.

Read more: Multi-jurisdictional coronavirus outbreak declared in Saskatchewan

Public health officials are advising anyone who was at the events to immediately self-isolate if they are experiencing any symptoms and call HealthLine 811 or a community health clinic to arrange for testing.

Those who are not experiencing symptoms are being advised to self-monitor for 14 days from the last date of possible exposure.

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The NITHA said there are eight current COVID-19 cases in its member communities and one person is in hospital as of Wednesday.

Two of those cases are in the Little Red Community.

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The first individual is a teen who was tested on Sept. 28 and the second confirmed case was on Oct. 1.

“(This) is a reminder that we all need to stay vigilant and follow the health guidelines in place,” Tammy Cook-Searson, chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, said in a statement on Sept. 29.

“We do not want to place our communities into lockdown or close the roads the way we needed to early this spring; however, this virus continues to pose a serious health threat, especially to our Elders and those with compromised immune systems, and we need to prepare ourselves for when the second wave occurs.”

Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan

NITHA said both individuals are self-isolating and exposed persons have been notified.

Prince Albert Grand Council, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and NITHA public health officials are monitoring the situation.

“The best way to avoid being exposed to this virus is by continuing to wear our masks, washing our hands, staying home when you are sick and following the instructions of our health experts,” Cook-Searson said.

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“We are a strong and resilient nation and we will get through this together.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.