A school in northern Manitoba will temporality shut its doors to students and move to remote leaning, after a recent rise in COVID-19 cases among children in the community has led local leaders to announce a number of new health orders.
In a Thursday press release the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, (MCCN) which sits about 220 kilometres west of Thompson, announced the community’s only school would close Friday for two weeks and move to remote learning.
The move comes after what MCCN said has been a "sudden increase" of COVID-19 cases in the community, and among children.
In the press release MCCN emergency measures director Glenn Dumas pleaded with local families to keep their kids home for at least the next two weeks, as they fear unvaccinated children could result in more community members and more children contracting COVID-19.
Currently, in Manitoba, most children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive a dose of any approved COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are asking the community to please keep your children at home and within the confines of your yard, no visiting for the duration of the 14-day stay-at-home-order," Dumas said.
"The contact tracing has shown our children are now testing positive."
The community will also put in further restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 among adults and children, as they will temporarily not allow children under the age of 12 to enter local business the Northern Store.
The new measures will also see capacity limits for the store cut by 50%, allow only one person per household to enter the store at one time, and require measures for those entering, including the wearing of masks, temperature checks, and contact tracing.
As of last Friday, the community said they had seven active COVID-19 cases, but said there were seventeen close contacts stemming from those seven cases, so they fear the possibility of discovering more cases in the coming days and weeks.
This is not the first time MCCN has head to deal with rising COVID-19 case numbers this year, as back in March more than 40 members of the Canadian Armed Forces were called in to assist the community, as at one point in mid-March there were 281 known active cases of COVID-19 in the community of about 3,000 residents.
— 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