WINNIPEG — The Long Plain First Nation is reporting four cases of COVID-19 on its reserve.
The community announced the cases in the Keeshkeemaquah Reserve near Portage la Prairie, Man., on Wednesday evening. They are the first cases of COVID-19 among residents in the community.
Chief Dennis Meeches told CTV News Winnipeg on Thursday morning the cases are isolated to one home in the community. He said contact tracing is underway, but it is believed the infection was acquired through community transmission in Portage la Prairie.
He said the cases are concerning for the community.
“Anytime there is a confirmed COVID-19 case, I think, automatically, a lot of people get concerned by that,” Meeches said. “I think the important thing is to follow Manitoba health guidelines and working with our health department to just reassure people that we’re taking all of the necessary steps that we need to take to protect the safety of the public.”
Some of the steps being taken include having a pandemic coordinator advising the council and reminding members of the community to stay home if they’re sick, wear a face mask while in public, and limit carpooling or travelling in vehicles other than with your immediate household family members.
“We’re still in a state of emergency since way back in March,” Meeches said. “It’s been seven months now, and I think we are witnessing a second wave of COVID-19. For many people including myself, we expected that this would eventually seep into the community, so people have to safeguard themselves.”
Meeches added people should also be wary of attaching a stigma to people who have contracted COVID-19 in the community.
According to Indigenous Services Canada, as of Wednesday, there are 906 cases of COVID-19 on reserves across the country. Of those cases, 83 are in Manitoba.
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