Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 within the Canim Lake Band are showing success. COVID recoveries in the community now outnumber active cases and the majority of eligible members have received the first round of vaccinations. Working from guidance provided by Interior Health, the community lockdown that has been in place in the community will be lifted on Saturday, January 30.
To support these positive developments, steps continue to be taken to limit the risk of exposure. Affected families in the Canim Lake Band are remaining in isolation at this time and the outbreak status will continue for at least another four weeks. There will also continue to be limited access to the community
“We continue to use our Secwepemc values to guide our response to the COVID outbreak in our community,” said Chief Helen Henderson, in a news release. “The Canim Lake Emergency Operations Team has managed to keep our community safe, while dealing with their own sense of loss and stress through the last weeks.”
“We recognize the impact this outbreak has had on the community,” said Cariboo Regional District Chair Margo Wagner. “On behalf of the Cariboo Regional District I extend our deepest condolences to the Secwepemc people. The passing of elders has a deep impact on any community. It is even more devastating when we lose vital language and cultural knowledge at the same time as loved ones mourn the passing of a family member.”
District of 100 Mile House mayor Mitch Campsall is looking forward to seeing the Secwepemc people emerging from lockdown.
“I recognize the sacrifices made by the Canim Lake Band have benefited everyone in the South Cariboo. Through collective action and a unified response, they not only fought back against the outbreak in their own community, but they helped to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the wider South Cariboo area.”
All three local leaders are hopeful that a smooth transition out of lockdown will be acheived. They are asking area residents to play their part by being mindful of the following:
- The community has met Provincial Health Office criteria to end the lockdown
- The community will continue to have COVID precautions in place, including limiting access.
- The CLB EOC will continue to support its members to follow the Provincial health orders.
- The Canim Lake Band is planning a phased-in opening of school and administration offices.
- CLB students will be returning to classes in School District #27, including riding the buses.
- Canim Lake Band members may be visiting nearby communities for appointments and to buy groceries and supplies.
Local RCMP and School District 27 are also voicing their support for the Canim Lake Band.
“100 Mile House RCMP will continue to support Canim Lake Band as they move forward to a new normal,” said Staff Sgt. Svend Nielsen. “We were extremely proud to be able to support their community during this difficult time. Please remember to follow Public Health Orders in place and still enforceable in the 100 Mile Detachment area.”
Superintendent Chris van der Mark said: “School District 27 appreciates the tremendous efforts of the Canim Lake community in keeping our communities safe, and we are excited to see our Canim Lake students returning to school!”
“It is our strong family values that allowed COVID to take hold in our community. But it is also our strong community values that allowed us to pull together and do what was needed for the good of the community as a whole,” said Chief Helen Henderson. “In the larger picture, we have learned many lessons about dealing with a pandemic that can be used to benefit other communities.”