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Cowichan Tribes reports 6th COVID-19 death, extends shelter-in-place order

The Cowichan Tribes Administration office located in Duncan, B.C., is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A Vancouver Island First Nation has reported two more COVID-19 deaths, and extended a shelter-in-place order until March 19.

In a Thursday update, Cowichan Tribes said the deaths brought the number of fatalities in the hard-hit community to six.

The First Nation has previously said at least two of those deaths were “young adults.”

Read more: B.C. First Nation hit hard by COVID-19 begins mass vaccination of all adults

The First Nation, which describes itself as British Columbia’s largest, has seen at least 255 cases of COVID-19 since Dec. 31, affecting 96 households.

In a letter to members, Cowichan Tribes chief and council said the “difficult decision” to extend the lockdown was necessary, despite last week’s mass vaccine rollout to the community.

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Click to play video: 'Cowichan Tribes records 4th COVID-19-related death' Cowichan Tribes records 4th COVID-19-related death
Cowichan Tribes records 4th COVID-19-related death – Feb 23, 2021

“While the continuation of our order can feel frustrating, we see the end in sight,” they wrote.

“With the first dose clinics completed, we anticipate this to be our last shelter-in-place order extension, but only if we all continue to do our part and case numbers are low.”

READ MORE: Cowichan Tribes record 4th death from COVID-19 as members battle outbreak

In a video update, Marnie Elliott, acting health director for Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre, reminded members that despite the vaccinations it’s important to continue to follow other safety protocols, including staying home and wearing masks.

“At such a hard time, we really want to reach out, give hugs to your loved ones, but we are still recommending to just keep your distance from those you’re with,” she said.

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While the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is believed to be between 80 and 92 per cent effective, it still takes about two weeks for the body to respond to it.

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