Lockdown comes as First Nation in central B.C. declares COVID 19 emergency

The Lake Babine Nation says two to three members are testing positive for COVID-19 every day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The Lake Babine Nation has declared a COVID-19 state of emergency, banning all non-essential travel and gatherings in its five communities in central B.C.

The nation says in a statement that it is experiencing a surge in infections with two to three members per day testing positive.

Its emergency declaration, which is in effect until Nov. 5, says the nation has lost at least six members already from the virus.

The statement says COVID-19 is impacting its young and healthy members like never before and those who aren’t vaccinated are getting sicker for longer periods of time.

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The nation says its members must not visit people in their own communities, even to see family and loved ones, unless essential caregiving is needed.

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It asks members to postpone non-essential trips and says there are to be no Thanksgiving or family events, funerals or potlatches until the state of emergency is declared over.

Bernard Patrick, the nation’s emergency operations director, says the band is seeing more transmission among children who are then passing it on to unvaccinated adults, including those with compromised health.

“While our children have been able to fight the virus effectively, that’s not always true for the parents and grandparents they are passing it to,” he says.

“The common thread is gatherings. Transmission is happening while travelling, visiting, and attending funerals and potlatches.”

The declaration also orders all members who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who live with someone who has tested positive to stay home and isolate.

The Lake Babine First Nation is the third largest Indigenous band in the province and is based in Burns Lake, northwest of Prince George.

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