Nisga’a Lisims Government declares state of local emergency

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The Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) executive has declared a state of local emergency as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Nass Valley.

“We have heard from our medical health professionals that the virus is not moving, people are moving,” said Eva Clayton, president, in a Jan. 12 media release.

“We need to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

The local state of emergency applies to each of the four Nisga’a villages and is in effect until Jan. 19, but could be extended.

There are 28 active positive cases. Since Dec. 28 there have been 202 tests conducted resulting in 68 positive tests — a positivity rate of 34 per cent. There have been 114 negative tests and 39 cases have recovered.

According to the Nisga’a emergency preparedness committee’s COVID-19 Exposure Within the Nass Valley Plan, provincial orders mandating masks and prohibiting gatherings apply and travel to and from each village is prohibited unless essential. Each village will have security monitoring.

Residents of the Nass valley who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their village government to be added to a list for wellness checks.

According to the Jan. 12 release, there is an “imminent threat” of transmission when people gather outside of their household bubbles, and Nisga’a enforcement officers have the authority to issue fines to people who are in contravention of public health orders.

The Nisga’a Lisims Government previously declared declared a state of local emergency on Nov. 26 after six children tested positive for COVID-19, as well as several other Nass Valley community members. That declaration was lifted on Dec. 11.

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News