COVID-19 cases are on the rise in northern Manitoba, and some northern First Nations communities are moving to Code Red, as they try to stop the virus from further spreading.
On Thursday the province announced 132 new COVID-19 cases, with 37 of those cases being reported out of the Northern Health Region.
In the Northern region, there are now a total of 212 active COVID-19 cases, and a high number of those cases have been reported out of Norway House Cree Nation and Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.
As of Wednesday of this week, there were 63 active cases of the virus in Norway House, while there were 57 active cases in Mathias Colomb, according to reports.
Norway House is home to about 7,500 residents, while Mathias Colomb is home to about 3,000 community members.
Both communities have now moved to Code Red: Critical on the province’s Pandemic Response System, meaning social gatherings of any kind are not permitted and schools and child-care centres have been closed, among other restrictions.
The province said in a Thursday press release that they are seeing a specifically troubling trend when it comes to COVID-19 cases in Mathias Colomb, a community that sits about 220 kilometres west of Thompson.
“In partnership with the chief and council from Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, provincial public health officials continue to see a trend of concerning case numbers and are working with the community and other partners to address the situation,” the province said.
“The chief and council have directed that public gatherings are not permitted and community residents are required to stay at home.”
The province said there are exemptions to the stay-at-home orders in both communities, including residents being allowed to leave for medical appointments and to shop for essentials, but only one person per household will be allowed in a store or business at one time.
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun