Stay at home order issued by Cowichan tribes to curb the spread of COVID-19


After an increase in COVID-19 cases, the largest First Nations band in British Columbia has restored a shelter for its nearly 5,000 members.
As of Wednesday, according to order documents, 23 confirmed cases of the virus have been detected among members of the Cowichan tribes since the start of the month. As a result, the chief and council issued an order on Wednesday that will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on Jan.22.

The order is authorized under the Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 Community Protection Regulation.

The total area of ​​the tribal reserves, located between Victoria and Nanaimo, British Columbia, is approximately 2,430 hectares and consists of nine reserves. Checkpoints and barriers have been put in place to prevent non-essential movements inside and outside the territory.

What the command means

For the next two weeks, all members are to stay home and leave only for work, school, medical appointments, essential errands or to care for a sick family member. A member of the household should be designated to do the shopping and members are encouraged to have the items delivered.

In accordance with current provincial restrictions, and reiterated by the tribal leaders in order, there should be no gathering of people from different families.

All reserve lands have now been designated as restricted and non-members can only be there if they are an authorized occupant, spouse or family member of a tribal member, making urgent repairs , delivering goods, caring for an authorized occupant, or providing first responder or other essential services at the request of the tribe.

“Our teachings – our Snuw’uy’ulh – teach us to help each other and work together for the good of all,” Chief William Seymour wrote in a social media post to tribal members.

Vulnerable communities

Sonia Furstenau, leader of the British Columbia Green Party and also Member of Parliament for Cowichan Valley, said the increase in the number of cases is “a huge cause for concern.”

“The worry levels are very high because in many indigenous communities housing conditions can be quite crowded. It’s very difficult to contain these types of outbreaks once they start, ”Furstenau said.

Island Health’s chief medical officer of health, Dr Richard Stanwick, said the tidy shelter is in use for now and health officials are assessing whether a vaccine intervention might help.

“We have used the vaccine very effectively in our long-term care facilities in the Lower Mainland to at least slow or shorten the duration of outbreaks. We do not yet have that experience with the community. It’s not a proven measure, ”Stanwick said. said.

How to get tested

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: cough, headache, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, runny nose, loss of appetite, chills, loss of smell or taste, nausea and vomiting, exacerbation of pain chronic muscle, diarrhea.

Members who are feeling ill can be tested at the local COVID-19 Assessment Center located at 5151 Polkey Rd. In Duncan, British Columbia. Appointments can be made by dialing 1-844-901-8442.

Tribal leadership demands that no one carpool at the testing center. The Ts’ewulhtun Health Center, which manages public health and communicable disease control for the Cowichan tribes, is available to organize rides as needed.


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