Tl’etinox chief Joe Alphonse said the recently released man from Mission Institution was escorted by a volunteer to a transition house in Prince George when he stopped in the community to visit to a family member.
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The community is located approximately 100 kilometers west of Williams Lake and is part of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation.
Alphonse said the community was informed on Tuesday by Northern Health that the man had tested positive, adding that the man’s contacts were now isolated.
The man, a member of Tsilhqot’in, was quarantined in Prince George where he is doing well, he added.
“I would have assumed that Mission Institution should make sure there was no doubt that it was completely cleaned before releasing anyone,” said Alphonse.
“So, if he tested positive up there, it would be very worrying for us. “
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Alphonse said the man, who was not symptomatic, has since said that he returned a single negative test.
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The community was about to await clarification on its Northern Health status, he said.
” Clearly, the situation has put the community under great stress, “said Alphonse, adding that the roads in the area were closed to non-essential traffic.
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“We are going to do a full and complete lockdown starting tomorrow, and you know it’s difficult for rural first nations because, you know, we can lock it out, but you don’t have anyone to enforce it. “
Global News asked the Correctional Service of Canada to let it know if the man had been tested before his release.
The Mission Establishment is the largest of all Canadian prisons, with at least 77 infected and five detained in hospital. One inmate also died of suspected complications from COVID-19.
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Fraser Health said Wednesday that screening of all inmates and facility staff is underway.
“We are monitoring this situation,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health worker, during her briefing on Wednesday.
“The Mission Establishment epidemic is the second largest that we are currently tackling. It’s complex, it involves our federal partners, CSC, it involves a lot of the work that Fraser Health does to try to make sure that we have the right infection and control measures in place to protect inmates and people who work in the correctional facility. , “She added.
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“A part is notified when people leave the establishment and make sure that we can support them, because with each epidemic and each situation of close contact, we want and we will support people so that they can isolate themselves during these 14 days, so they are not able to transmit to someone else. “
Northern Health and Interior Health said they could not comment for reasons of confidentiality. Global News has requested comments from the First Nations Health Authority.
Alphonse said he hoped additional tests would reveal the initial positive diagnosis was wrong, but told Global News that the whole situation had asked him many questions.
“If they knew he was positive or something and let him go anyway, well, it’s really irresponsible, and I think it would be worrisome for the general public as a whole” , did he declare.
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