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Lockdown underway in Carry The Kettle First Nation following COVID-19 outbreak

After eight people tested positive for COVID-19, Carry The Kettle First Nation has declared a lockdown for the next two weeks. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

A COVID-19 outbreak on the Carry The Kettle First Nation has the reserve on lockdown for the next two weeks.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority made the community aware of the situation on Sunday after eight people tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Indian Head, Sask., long-term care home

Chief Brady O’Watch, along with his emergency team, said he believed shutting things down is the best course of action.

“I’m quite transparent and always want to educate my community. I’m always communicating the importance of protecting kids and elders of my First Nation,” O’Watch said.

“When I talked about the purpose of the lockdown, there was a lot of positive reaction to it. You have people here and there who don’t like it, but there is more positives than anything and I am very grateful for that.”

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To ensure the safety of its members, O’Watch said he and his health team have been keeping a close eye on everybody through visitations and even have a colour-card system in place for those in need of help.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan

Residents are asked to place a certain colour in their windows, based on their needs.

“Security coming by will see that, flag it and they would know what kind of help to give you,” O’Watch said. “Red means you need supplies, black is urgent help and you have one for a death in the home.”

Despite the challenges the pandemic has caused the First Nation, such as isolation and job losses, O’Watch said families have been able to reconnect due to the time spent together inside their homes.

“It really made us re-evaluate how important family is. A lot of people managed to stay home and work. Some of them were laid off, but it made them stay home and appreciate their families,” O’Watch said.

Located about 100 kilometres east of Regina, Carry The Kettle First Nation has roughly 1,000 members.

Read more: Hookah Lounge in Regina suspends services as COVID-19 outbreak declared

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With COVID-19 cases soaring across the province, Saskatchewan health officials continue to preach patience as they try to bring the numbers down.

“It’s just really important for us to stay the course for the next three weeks and see our numbers start trending down by the middle of December,” Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Nov. 25.

On Tuesday, Saskatchewan saw four deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total fatalities related to the pandemic to 51. Total cases in the province are now at 8,745.

Click to play video 'COVID-19 outbreak declared at Indian Head, Sask., long-term care home' COVID-19 outbreak declared at Indian Head, Sask., long-term care home
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Indian Head, Sask., long-term care home – Nov 11, 2020

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.

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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.