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Coronavirus outbreak declared at Canim Lake, First Nations community issues lockdown

Interior Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Canim Lake in B.C.'s Interior on Monday. Courtesy: Canim Lake Band

Interior Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the small First Nations community of Canim Lake in the South Cariboo region of B.C.’s Interior.

The health authority said it’s identified 32 cases of COVID-19 among people who live in the area.

Health officials said the virus is spreading rapidly in the small community and additional resources are being brought there.

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“Interior Health is overseeing COVID-19 outreach testing, contact tracing, transportation, and isolation for affected individuals with support from local community health services,” IH said in a statement.

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“The Canim Lake First Nation has taken extraordinary efforts to ensure public health and safety and are working collaboratively with neighboring communities to mitigate the risk factors associated with the rapid transmission of the virus.”

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Chief and council of the Canim Lake Band approved a motion on Jan. 8 to lock down their community in response to the discovery of nine cases of COVID-19 among members at the time, it said in a news release.

A curfew is also in place form 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. daily.

Check points are set up to restrict traffic into and out of the community.

“There will be no access allowed to any individual that does not live in the community,” the band said.

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“Some exceptions will be allowed for medical reasons, wellness checks of family members, and to make supply runs,” the band added.

Children who attend school outside the community are being home-schooled for the time being.

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“It’s our Secwepemc value to ensure protection, safety, security to all our members and these values have guided us through this pandemic,” chief and council said in the release.

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“Our Elders, Knowledge keepers and those with compromised immune systems are our priority.”

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Although the outbreak is being declared in Canim Lake, increased COVID-19 activity is being broadly detected throughout the 100 Mile House region, IH said.

Residents are reminded to avoid social gatherings and limit socialization to immediate household bubbles.

People are also urged to follow public health guidance such as physical distancing, washing your hands regularly, and wearing a mask.