UPDATE: Saik’uz First Nation to maintain stricter enforcement at community checkpoints

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Non-residents attempting to enter a northern B.C. First Nation near Vanderhoof will continue to be turned away.

After a potential COVID-19 exposure was identified, Saik’uz First Nation confirmed the test results came back negative for individuals who had contact with a virus-positive visitor.

“Saik’uz will be standing its emergency response plan in response, but we will continue to restrict those entering the community to Saik’uz residents only,” stated a Dec. 22 Facebook post.

Saik’uz First Nation had beefed up its checkpoints, to include voluntary temperature checks after confirming a potential COVID-19 exposure Dec. 18, which took place at two Saik’uz households after a visit from a member living outside the community.

“We understand this may be alarming news, but we also understand that our community is resilient and resourceful,” acting chief Jackie Thomas said in an online community update last Friday.

“We take care of each other, and the best way to take care of each other right now is to be calm, be kind and be safe.”

Those in the involved households were self-isolating as they awaited their COVID-19 test results.

Saik’uz’s health manager said they were initiating contact tracing to determine if anyone beyond the households were exposed.

“In Saik’uz, we have partially activated our emergency response plan,” Regina Thomas said Dec. 18, noting the nation is in frequent contact with First Nations Health Authority, Northern Health and Carrier Sekani Family Services.

“However, the most important people needed to keep this community safe are not us but you —community members have and can do the most to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Saik’uz,” she added.

Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune