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Deschambault Lake calls COVID-19 outbreak, 50 active cases, variant of concern confirmed

A second community in northern Saskatchewan is the site of a COVID-19 outbreak. This time, it's Deschambault Lake.
covid file graphic

A second community in northern Saskatchewan is the site of a COVID-19 outbreak. This time, it's Deschambault Lake.

The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Health Services (PBCNHS) announced the outbreak Sept. 1, saying that cases had spiked in the area and that a variant of concern has been confirmed by provincial sequencing.

As of Sept. 1, according to the community's Jonah Sewap Memorial Health Centre, 50 people are still considered to be active COVID-19 cases, with more than 30 households and over 100 total people in isolation. Since the pandemic began, 120 people have tested positive in Deschambault Lake.

A similar outbreak was announced in Pelican Narrows August 24 after cases surged in the community. As many as 67 people had active COVID-19 cases in Pelican Narrows as of August 27 - while 42 people have since recovered from COVID-19 in the community since then, 25 more have tested positive since Monday. As of Sept. 1, 50 people have active cases of COVID-19 in Pelican Narrows, according to the Angelique Canada Health Centre in the community.

A total of 573 people in Pelican Narrows have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 300 people are currently isolating.

How exactly the disease got to Deschambault Lake is unknown. 

"It has been confirmed that there is a Variant of Concern (VOC) in the community and although it has not yet been lab-confirmed, it is highly expected to be the Delta variant," reads a form letter from PBCNHS. Several sections of the announcement are the same as the announcement of the Pelican Narrows outbreak last week.

"The Delta variant is highly contagious and can cause more severe illness even in younger people including children."

The letter is signed off by both PBCN councillors for Deschambault Lake - Walter Ballantyne and Peter R. Beatty.

Like Pelican Narrows, Deschambault Lake is now restricting access to the community to essential services personnel only, with residents' travel outside restricted to essential travel only. The community has a curfew in effect, ordering people to stay at home between 11 p.m.- 7 a.m. and explicitly ordering no food sales, garage sales or house parties. Masks are now mandated for all public spaces in Deschambault Lake as of Sept. 1.

As of Sept.1, 141 COVID-19 cases are active in the far north east 2 health zone, which includes Deschambault Lake, Pelican Narrows, Sandy Bay, Creighton, Denare Beach and Flin Flon, Sask. A total of 61 new cases were reported Sept. 1 - the exact location of the new cases is not yet known.