Lake Babine Nation (LBN) is suddenly seeing a spike in COVID-related activity, with two lab-confirmed COVID cases on the Woyenne reserve.
On Dec. 17, an announcement by Chief Gordon Alec and Deputy Chief Derek MacDonald, said that there were two cases on the reserve.
“There is a large number of cases here in Burns Lake and there are potential cases here in Woyenne as well. Yesterday we got word that two members tested positive who may have been exposed to a number of other members on and off the reserve. If you have been in contact with these individuals, please contact the emergency operations committee as soon as possible and you will get further instructions,” said MacDonald adding that according to the information they received, there have been 10 confirmed cases in Burns Lake since September.
“We are also now following up on other possible cases that may be the result of these two current positive cases,” he said.
Earlier last week, in an announcement, authorities with the LBN informed its members and the larger community that the checkpoints were going back up at all its reserves.
“Checkpoints are there to ensure no one from outside comes in on the reserve on Woyenne and they are there for a reason; to help us, the RCMP and help keep this community safe as best as we can. So be courteous, be nice to the check point people who are putting their lives on the line,” urged MacDonald.
He also listed out several dos and don’ts like self isolating and monitoring for symptoms for those who had been in contact with someone who was a confirmed case, being honest so that it helps with contact tracing, social distancing, using masks, staying at home and designating one person per household to do essential errands like medical pick-ups and grocery shopping .
“People, this is real, this is very real and now it is taking its toll here in Woyenne. Now is the time to make sure that the movement of this virus is not accelerated,” he said.
LBN has now put in place a driver for the community of Woyenne who will be going around using the LBN-marked vehicle to help people with rides, who don’t have transportation to do their groceries, banking and medical stuff. The driver will be available seven days a week between 12 noon to 6 p.m. and these trips will be approved by the emergency operations committee. However, MacDonald highlighted that these rides won’t be extended to those who have been drinking and partying.
“We have decided with the RCMP that such situations will be dealt with swiftly. We are seeing that many households think they are an exception to the rule and have extended families visiting. This is how COVID-19 is spreading and we don’t want to see that. any gatherings that happen, there have been two instances where fines have been given out and there will be swift action taken on those who do not abide by the rules and laws. The fines that these people will have to pay ranges from $230 to $2,300,” he said.
MacDonald also expressed his condolences to one of the families who was bringing back a lost loved one. He said that while he understood the need to want to have a full funeral and a wake, he said that that won’t be allowed.
“This is as real as it is going to get. Help us in this situation, be nice to the check point people. We have had security during the evening and well past midnight and checkpoints that are 24×7 effective immediately,” he said.