Tadoule Lake on lockdown after confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community

Sayisi Dene First Nation has gone into lockdown following confirmation of a COVID-19 case in Tadoule Lake.

Chief Evan Yassie said in a message on Facebook Nov. 11 that the health centre is working to identify anyone who had been in contact with the person who tested positive. 

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“Our goal is to quickly contain the spread of COVID-19 and limit it to a small number of cases or clusters,” Yassie said. “We want to prevent widespread community transmission and avoid outbreaks in settings like health care facilities and schools. We’ve also learnt from public health experts that the transmission is mostly occurring from group gatherings such as with families and friends from outside your household.”

A Facebook posting on behalf of Yassie and Sayisi Dene First Nation council said no one in Tadoule Lake should be associating with anyone from outside their home and that $1,000 fines would automatically be deducted from employees’ salaries or from First Nation members’ social assistance if they do not follow lockdown protocol. Employees of the First Nation who do not follow lockdown rules after being verbally advised to do so could be put on probation and then terminated.

Sayis Dene First Nation has a total registered population of 727 members, including about 300 who live on-reserve, according to the federal government. Located above the 58th parallel with no year-round land transportation links to the rest of Manitoba, Tadoule Lake is one of the province’s most northerly and remote communities.

There were three COVID-19 cases overall, two of them active, in the Sayisi Dene/Tadoule/Barren Lands/Brochet/Northlands/Lac Brochet health district on Thursday, according to the provincial government, though case locations are based on the home addresses listed on the health cards of people who test positive for the virus, who may have moved and failed to update their address.

The Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination team said Nov. 12 that there are currently 1,552 positive tests for COVID-19 among members of First Nations in the province, 646 of them living on-reserve. There were 31 new cases on-reserve on Thursday and 79 new cases among First Nations members overall, 16 of whom have died from the virus so far in the pandemic. There are 54 First Nations members in hospital due to COVID-19 as of Nov. 12, and 12 of them are in intensive care – more than a third of all COVID-19 related intensive care patients. There are more than 1,000 active cases of COVID-19 among First Nations people in Manitoba.

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