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COVID-19: Most Cowessess First Nation cases involve kids, Halloween protocols in place

Cowessess First Nation has active COVID-19 cases, majority are children who are sick with the virus. The band membership is 53 per cent vaccinated.

The Cowessess First Nation has taken action to help slow the spread of COVID-19 cases. The southern Saskatchewan community has a total of 15 cases and two that are still waiting to be confirmed. The majority of the cases, they say, are linked to children.

“We had a number of cases at the school and we did contact tracing from that,” said Kelly Finkas, the community’s health director and social development. “It ended up that we were able to discover a few more cases in the community.”

Read more: Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan steps up coronavirus preventative measures

On Monday, Oct. 25, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme posted on the community Facebook page to alert his band membership about the rising cases.

“Each active case is safe at home complying with isolation guidelines,” according to the social media post. “We wish them a safe recovery. With the 15 active cases, there are 80 close contacts.”

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Finkas said safety measures have already been put in place to ensure the proper actions are taken.

“Right now, we’re asking people to stay home as much as they can,” she said. “The school is closed, the daycare is closed and the school has gone to online learning format for right now.”

While kids who are impacted by COVID-19 won’t be able to trick-or-treat on Halloween, community leaders are stepping up to ensure the little ones won’t miss out on some sweets.

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“We will be delivering candy bags to kids who can’t go out this year,” said Finkas. “Various departments are working together to deliver pumpkins and will be doing a virtual pumpkin carving contest.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Cowessess First Nation navigates vaccine hesitancy during reserve’s rollout

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Households intending to hand out candies for Halloween are required to register with the Health Department. Proper guidelines will be given to registered households to ensure there is no further risk of infection to children.

“We’re asking households with active cases not to give out candy,” she said, “just reminding people if they have active cases or if they are not feeling comfortable, they can just turn off their porch light. This will be a notice for trick-or-treaters (that house) isn’t participating.”

Cowessess First Nation also stated on its social media post that starting on Nov. 1, staff members who aren’t vaccinated will be asked to go on leave without pay.

“We want to assure to our fellow staff members and clients we will remain low risk to COVID-19,” according to the post.

Finkas said the band membership is 53 per cent vaccinated.

Cowessess First Nation is 159 kilometres west of Regina.

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