SANDY LAKE FIRST NATION, Ont. – Three First Nations in northwestern Ontario reported new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with contact tracing underway to determine if the virus had spread within the communities.
New cases were reported for Sandy Lake, Pikangikum, and Kasabonika First Nations on Saturday.
A female resident of Sandy Lake, located about 200 kilometres north of Red Lake, tested positive after returning on Sept. 15 from Winnipeg, where she had been escorting a medical patient.
A statement released on a community Facebook page by chief and band council on Saturday reported the woman has been staying at an isolation site with her partner as part of the First Nation’s entry protocols. The patient she escorted is self-isolating at home.
Because she is so far asymptomatic, the woman is being re-tested to confirm the results.
Contact tracing by the Sandy Lake First Nation Health Authority and nursing station staff has begun, the chief and council statement said, with any known contacts to be tested, monitored, and required to self-isolate until results are known.
Community leadership asked anyone who may have been in contact with the individual to phone (807) 774-1476.
The positive result prompted the declaration of an immediate lockdown by the band council, with community members directed not to leave their homes for 24 to 48 hours, with the exception of essential service providers.
Schools in the community will also be closed for at least two weeks, with the Sandy Lake Board of Education to determine alternative course delivery.
Meanwhile, the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority confirmed Saturday that a young child had tested positive for COVID-19 in Pikangikum First Nation, located about 100 kilometres north of Red Lake.
Chief Dean Owen announced the case to the community via Facebook on Saturday. He provided few details, but said the individual is “doing well” and self-isolating, while contact tracing was now underway.
The news of the two new cases comes just days after another northwestern Ontario First Nation, Kasabonika Lake, reported five COVID-19 cases, all within the same social bubble.
The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority also confirmed a sixth case in that community on Saturday. That individual is doing well and self-isolating, the agency reported.