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Pukatawagan, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation locking back down following COVID-19 case surge

District goes back to "red" on provincial pandemic response system
covid mask
perspective view closeup of medical protection face mask left by the closed window near door handle quarantine concept (perspective view closeup of medical protection face mask left by the closed window near door handle quarantine concept, ASCII, 119

Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (MCCN) is locking back down after reporting dozens of COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, moving back to "red" on the provincial pandemic management system.

Provincial health officials, along with Chief Lorna Bighetty and council, have put in place tight restrictions for the community. The changes were announced Oct. 7 are due mostly to increasing case levels in recent weeks.

"In partnership with the chief and council from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, provincial public health officials continue to see a trend of concerning case numbers and are working with the community and other partners to address the situation," reads Manitoba's Oct. 7 COVID-19 update.

"The community has been moved to critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System."

The Pukatawagan/MCCN health district has 73 active cases of COVID-19 as of Oct. 7, including 38 new cases reported so far this week and 72 found in the past two weeks. The district now has the most active COVID-19 infections of any area in northern Manitoba, higher than Norway House (69 active cases) and Island Lake (15 active cases). As of Oct. 7, the Pukatawagan district has more than one-third of the Northern Health Region's (NHR) active cases.

The changes include restricting all public gatherings of any size within Pukatawagan/MCCN, with a stay-at-home order in place for all residents with few exceptions.

"People should only leave their residence to seek testing or medical care, or to send one person from a household for essential supplies. An exemption has been made for the hunting and fishing season, and people who work in essential services are able to leave their residence for work," reads the update.

Masks must also be worn outside the home in all settings within Pukatawagan.

Out of all 16 health districts in northern Manitoba, the Pukatawagan/MCCN health district has the lowest vaccination rate for eligible people - only 63.5 per cent of people age 12 and up have at least a first dose, with 50.6 per cent of people considered to be double vaccinated.