Outbreak declared as Interior Health confirms 32 cases of COVID-19 linked to Canim Lake Band

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Interior Health has confirmed an outbreak within the Canim Lake Band community east of 100 Mile House.

So far, 32 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the First Nations community, where 228 people live, according to the 2016 census.

Interior Health says it's providing testing and conducting contact tracing while those who tested positive remain in isolation.

"The Canim Lake First Nation has taken extraordinary efforts to ensure public health and safety and is working collaboratively with neighbouring communities to mitigate the risk factors associated with the rapid transmission of the virus," Interior Health said in a statement.

While the outbreak has been declared specifically for Canim Lake, Interior Health says COVID-19 has been "broadly detected" in the 100 Mile House region.

On Saturday, the Canim Lake Band issued a lockdown order for the community. At the time, there were only nine positive cases.

There's a curfew within the community from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. Checkpoints are also in place to restrict the flow of traffic in the community.

"We wanted to ensure that we are safeguarding our community and curfew is a part of that," said Chief Helen Henderson.

"It's a part of our plan and it comforts us greatly and gives us a lot of assurance that people are home."

People will be allowed past checkpoints for medical reasons, wellness checks of family members, and for people to make supply runs, she said.

Henderson said the priority now is getting people vaccinated.

"We are advocating for it to happen as soon as possible," she said, adding the band has been in contact with the First Nations Health Authority and Interior Health.

"We are in dire need."