UPDATE: The number of cases at Canim Lake Band has now risen to 45.
Dr. Silvina Mema, medical health officer with Interior Health, said five people from the close-knit community are in hospital. “We are continuing to do testing and isolation,” she said. The community has been on lockdown since Jan. 8.
Multiple health agencies are working together to bring additional resources to support the Canim Lake Band, where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared, due to what Interior Health describes as “rapid spread.”
IH declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the community, located approximately 40 kilometres east of 100 Mile House, on Monday, Jan. 11, after identifying 32 positive cases.
The outbreak comes three days after Canim Lake Band launched a community-wide lockdown Jan. 8 after the number of positive cases rose to nine.
“We are advising members to be prepared for at least one month,” said CLB emergency operations centre communications officer Demian Pettman.
CLB has an on-reserve population of 228 according to the 2016 Census by Statistics Canada.
IH is overseeing COVID-19 outreach testing, contact tracing, transportation and isolation for affected individuals with support from local community health services and noted the extraordinary efforts of CLB to ensure public health and safety.
Outbreak response activities are being co-ordinated together with CLB, IH, the First Nations Health Authority, Emergency Management BC and others.
Medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema said aside from the lockdown, there are four nurses on-site to do testing full-time while others are making arrangements to provide access to food and medication.
She said she hopes they will be able to provide the vaccine to members this week if they can get the supply.
“We’re working very hard to protect the Elders in the community who are the most vulnerable,” Mema said.
Although the outbreak has been declared in Canim Lake, Mema noted increased COVID-19 activity has been broadly detected throughout the 100 Mile House region and Interior Health, following the Christmas break. Since Jan. 1, there have been 182 cases across Interior Health.
“It’s a very large area. I would say the Kamloops area, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Revelstoke and 100 Mile are the ones that have the most cases,” she said.