Pelican Narrows locks down as health officials declare COVID-19 outbreak

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported in Pelican Narrows. The area has locked back down after at least four cases of the disease, with possible signs of spread within the community.

The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) announced the outbreak late Nov. 23, designating the area as an outbreak after "an increasing number of confirmed cases with evidence of community transmission" according to a public service announcement.

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"[The] Pelican Narrows health team is working with NITHA and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) Health Services to contain the outbreak. At this time, prevention remains the best way to protect yourself," reads the PSA.

"These include wearing face masks, maintaining two meters' physical distancing, washing your hands, staying home if sick and following the public health guidelines."

At least  four COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the community by local officials. 

The community locked back down Nov. 21, with a checkpoint set up on the way into the community along Highway 135. Safety workers - whom local officials are looking to hire more of during the lockdown - will search all vehicles entering the community and will not allow people to enter unless they consent to a vehicle search. Non-PBCN members or non-residents will not be allowed to enter the community, with the exception of essential services and personnel.

Pelican Narrows has also instituted a local 10 p.m. curfew. Large gatherings and parties within the community have been temporarily banned, with RCMP given authority to investigate and to possibly levy fines or even charges to offenders. No visits outside the household are allowed in the community at the moment, with families of five members or more advised to not have additional people in their home under provincial health orders. Masks are mandatory in all public spaces, indoors and outside.

Only one person per household is advised to go shopping within the community - band officials also ask shoppers to limit their time in stores and to shop only once a week maximum.

"PBCN Chief and Council are actively engaged to ensure our members are protected and request that local residents do their part. We are working with our partners NITHA and Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to reduce the impact of Covid-19 amongst our community," reads a statement from PBCN.

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