Wednesday, September 27, 2023
HomeWorld NewsCanada newsKasabonika Lake First Nation declares state of emergency over COVID-19 outbreak

Kasabonika Lake First Nation declares state of emergency over COVID-19 outbreak

kasabonika lake first nation declares state of emergency over covid 19 outbreak

Kasabonika Lake has declared a state of emergency over a COVID-19 outbreak in the remote First Nation, which has about 1,060 people living on its reserve located 580 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

In a media release issued Sunday, Kasabonika Lake said there were 138 active cases in the community, with more tests pending.

There have been three deaths related to the virus in the last week, and three elders, one youth and one adult have been airlifted to hospital from the community, which has a vaccination rate of 36 per cent, according to the release.

“Kasabonika Lake has been under a full community lockdown going on three weeks with only local and external essential services maintaining operations,” the release states. “The local health authority, pandemic committee, front line personnel and volunteers have been working tirelessly night and day.”

There has also been an increasing number of clinical visits, according to the release, with “mostly the elderly experiencing complications and adverse effects since contracting the COVID virus.”

Eight Canadian Rangers have been deployed to the community to assist with logistical tasks, a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson said Monday.

In its release, Kasabonika said the state of emergency comes at a critical time, as the community is finalizing its 2022 winter road protocol.

“Winter roads [are] a lifeline for northern First Nation communities with critical supply delivery to last throughout the year,” the release states. “The community’s fuel and gas are being delivered to empty tanks with local fuel handlers scrambling to find any extra fuel and gas to keep facilities heated, lights on and vehicles [running].”

The community said the outbreak is affecting other services, as well.

All of Kasabonika’s heavy equipment operators and garbage collection workers are positive for COVID-19, the community said.

“The housing shortage is a major contributing factor in the rapid spread of the virus and will continue to hinder efforts to contain the virus and further spread,” the release states. “For example, one of our two … water treatment plant operators household has 17+ people living under one roof, which makes it very difficult to maintain physical distancing and keeping to the isolation rules.”

The First Nation’s chief and council are encouraging all residents to continue to observe all protocols put in place, including avoiding unnecessary inter-community travel, physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

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