Chief William Seymour and council issued the shelter-in-place order late on the afternoon of Jan. 6, after 23 cases had been confirmed since New Year’s Day.  (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes ordered to shelter in place due to COVID-19 outbreak

Members of B.C.’s largest First Nation required to stay at home until Jan. 22

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in their community, members of Cowichan Tribes have been instructed to shelter in place until Jan. 22.

Chief William Seymour and council issued the order late on the afternoon of Jan. 6, after 23 cases had been confirmed since New Year’s Day.

“More cases may be announced in the days ahead as we await test results,” the order notes. “This is a critical time for each of us to do our part to limit the spread of the virus and to remain calm and be kind to one and other.”

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The Duncan-area community of nearly 5,000 members is B.C.’s largest First Nation. Chief and council and their pandemic response team have been working closely with the BC First Nations Health Authority, Island Health and other health providers to conduct contact tracing, monitor cases and keep members safe. Members who have tested positive or have been in direct contact with those who have tested positive are required to self-isolate, and health officials are providing support and guidance.

Under the shelter in place order, all members are required to stay at home. Access to residential areas and residential buildings on reserve land is restricted. Barriers and checkpoints are being set up to enforce the order and provide information.

Residents may only leave their homes for work, school, medical appointments, to get groceries, medicine or other essential items, or to care for a family member who is ill. Households are asked to designate one person to go shopping, and to limit shopping trips to once per week. If possible, they should order over the phone and have essential items delivered to their homes.

Residents are not permitted to gather or hold events indoors or outdoors with people from outside their household.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, should self-isolate and call 811. Symptoms include cough, headache, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, runny nose, loss of appetite, chills, loss of sense of smell or taste, nausea and vomiting, exacerbation of chronic muscle aches, diarrhea.

To arrange for a COVID-19 test, contact the Cowichan COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 1-844-901-8442. For other information, call 811 or Ts’ewulhtun Health at 250-746-6184.

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