Advertisement

Coronavirus: Penticton Indian Band closes services, buildings following rise in COVID-19 cases

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 grips First Nations communities' COVID-19 grips First Nations communities
The coronavirus pandemic has gripped two small First Nations reserves in the South Okanagan. With case counts climbing, chief and councils are implementing drastic measures to try to contain the virus. Shelby Thom reports. – Feb 2, 2021

One day after issuing a stay-at-home notice following a rise in positive coronavirus cases, the Penticton Indian Band has closed all of its services and buildings for a two-week period.

The stay-at-home notice was issued on Sunday, Jan. 31, with the band stating there were nine confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, up from three cases from Jan. 30.

Twenty-four hours later, though, PIB Chief Greg Gabriel said the community now had 12 confirmed cases.

Read more: Lower Similkameen Indian Band declares state of emergency due to COVID-19

The PIB says 123 people have been told to self-isolate or self-monitor due to COVID-19. Some are on-reserve members while some are people who work on the reserve or friends who were close contacts.

Story continues below advertisement
A sign on the door of a Penticton Indian Band building stating it is closed. On Monday, the PIB closed all of its buildings due to rising case counts of COVID-19 within the community. Shelby Thom / Global News

“It’s always been my hope that my address to the community would always be under more positive and better circumstances,” Gabriel said in a YouTube video.

“Regrettably, today’s address is to bring you up to date and bring clarity, I suppose, to our community notice that was issued yesterday (Jan. 31).”

The administration building of the Penticton Indian Band. Shelby Thom / Global News

In announcing that it was closing down all services and its buildings for two weeks, the PIB said the notice “is not a lockdown, however, we are asking all residents of PIB to stay home and only go out when necessary.”

Story continues below advertisement

To view the Jan. 30 notice, click here.

To view the Jan. 31 notice, click here.

To view the Feb. 1 notice, click here.

“I want to be clear that the notice that we issued is not an order,” Gabriel said in the video. “It’s just to bring to your attention the seriousness of what’s before us and what is now in our community.

“I know a number of people have misinterpreted the intent of the notice and I want to provide some clarification to that.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Trudeau discusses role of Novavax, domestic vaccine production in Canada’s rollout plan' Coronavirus: Trudeau discusses role of Novavax, domestic vaccine production in Canada’s rollout plan
Coronavirus: Trudeau discusses role of Novavax, domestic vaccine production in Canada’s rollout plan – Feb 2, 2021

Gabriel says the notice isn’t an order telling people to stay home.

Story continues below advertisement

“Obviously people need to go to work, children have to go to school,” he said. “I just want to assure people that although it is serious, you have the ability to carry on with your daily lives.”

Gabriel added that the PIB is doing its best “to keep it contained and keeping everyone safe. We ask that you co-operate and show your support with our health dept., our emergency team and our council.

“Just be cautious and limit your interaction with others.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C.' Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C.
Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C – Feb 1, 2021

“We’ll see how things progress in the next couple of weeks, and, if need be, if it doesn’t look like we’re making progress – I think we will – then we’ll have our council come together and look at other measures we will have to put into place to get this COVID crisis contained.

Story continues below advertisement

“Hopefully we won’t have to get to that point, but I really ask for your co-operation and for your support.”

Sponsored content