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McLeod Lake Indian Band orders lockdown as COVID-19 hits community

McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief Harley Chingee

McLeod Lake Indian Band has declared a COVID-19 outbreak on IR#1 and Chief Harley Chingee has ordered a lockdown.

“We currently have three elders confirmed with COVID-19, one of whom is in the ICU, one who is currently being monitored at the hospital and one who is currently isolating at home,” Chingee said in a letter to band members. “Further yet, in the early hours of February 2, 2021, elder Sheri Solonas passed away due to COVID-19 complications. I offer my condolences to her family. Please send your prayers as her family navigates through these devastating times.

“This has been a difficult week for our elders and our community and no doubt a difficult year. McLeod Lake Indian Band members are known for coming together in difficult times. Yet the social distancing restrictions have placed barriers on allowing us to do this. While I recognize that this would be a time for our families to gather, support one another and mourn, there is not a more important time than to stay within your immediate family household bubble.”

Chingee urges members to connect via phone and computer to support loved ones while the current outbreak in our community is being contained.

In order to assist the Health Team, Emergency Management and the Administration, lockdown measures have been put in place. This includes the closure of the MLIB offices and TFF, in addition to a mandatory stay-at-home order.

“Please understand that these measures are only in effect to protect us all and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable members in the community,” he said in the letter. “Many members have already come to me to give special exemptions or permission to leave the reserve. I cannot give this permission. All of us need to comply with the rules.”

He added members who have medical appointments that requiring them to leave, to contact Kim Harmison at 778-363-1227. The Health Team will work to ensure that all medical appointments can be held virtually prior to approval.

“While I appreciate and thank the majority of members who are actively working to comply with these orders, there are some who are not. Let me be clear: For members who refuse to adhere to the current stay-at-home orders, you will risk not being allowed back into the reserve for the remainder of the lockdown and/or having distributions withheld. All essential services, including groceries, will be brought to TFF and distributed to households on Friday.”

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