Northern Manitoba First Nation stranded after Gillam traveler tests positive for COVID-19

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A First Nation in northern Manitoba has locked itself in after saying that a person who visited the nearby town of Gillam later tested positive for COVID-19.Fox Lake Cree Nation informed its band members in a community update on Friday of a report from public health officials that a person who tested positive was in Gillam from August 12-21. .

The community emergency crisis team is scheduled to meet on Saturday morning.

The person does not live in Gillam or Fox Lake, but drove to Gillam to visit his family, he said.

He added that the person was in Gillam – about 50 kilometers from Fox Lake – when they were told they were in close contact with a confirmed case in the Prairie Mountain Health area in southwestern Canada. Manitoba.

The person began to self-isolate in Gillam and developed symptoms, and the positive test was confirmed on Friday, the advisory says. Fox Lake’s notice stated that the person had not attended any business while in Gillam and had not come into contact with anyone from the Cree Nation.

As of Saturday morning, the province of Manitoba was not reporting any active cases in the Northern Health Region.

A river on the Fox Lake Cree Nation. No one is currently allowed to enter or leave the Fox Lake Bird Sanctuary after someone in the nearby town of Gillam tested positive for COVID-19. (Austin Grabish / CBC)

Fox Lake has closed its bird sanctuary. No one is allowed to enter or leave the reserve.

Keeping COVID-19 out of First Nations has been a major concern since the start of the pandemic. Many First Nations in Manitoba put controls in place early on and created new rules like banning visitors to their reserves in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Overcrowded housing conditions and poor health infrastructure could lead to devastating epidemics, community leaders had already warned.

The Fox Lake advisory said there was no link between the positive COVID-19 case with Manitoba Hydro employees or the Keeyask dam site.

In May, First Nations blocked access to the site after Manitoba Hydro held back project staff, despite concerns about workers bringing COVID-19 to the area. The blockades led Hydro to reduce work on the site.

Gillam is located approximately 740 kilometers north of Winnipeg.

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