Łutsël K'é elder worried following community's 1st COVID-19 case

·2 min read
Yukon officials are reporting four new cases of COVID-19.  (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters - image credit)
Yukon officials are reporting four new cases of COVID-19. (NIAID Integrated Research Facility/Reuters - image credit)

An elder in an N.W.T. community with its first case of COVID-19 says she's locked her door and hasn't seen anyone since the news was announced Thursday.

"Nobody really knows what's going on right now until leadership has a meeting as to what we are going to do to contain this virus," Cathy Marlowe, who lives in Łutsël K'é, told CBC News.

Health Minister Julie Green says the case stems from someone who travelled into the community.

"There is an investigation underway to establish who the positive case has been in contact with and provide advice for people to get tested," said Green. "All the usual things that happen in an outbreak are going on in Łutsël K'é at this time to respond to this positive case."

Marlowe has had stage four lung cancer for the past seven years.

It's in remission now, but she said her lungs are weak and she needs to be extra cautious about airborne respiratory viruses, like COVID-19.

Marlowe said she's worried the individual who tested positive may have spread it to others.

"They had to have contact with people because there's no taxi. You have to get rides from the airport to the community. And it's only a fly-in community so there are people on the flight that individual came in on to Łutsël K'é."

Submitted by Cathy Marlowe
Submitted by Cathy Marlowe

Marlowe said she's not aware of any new government supports that have arrived in the community, but hopes they'll be arriving soon.

"Elders are having problems with their own medical conditions. And they need home support. So it's hard."

"We have been so cautious since this pandemic started, trying to protect this community," said Marlowe. "I have had friends and family wanting to come back, but they can't come back. They are from this community also. So we have been really cautious."

August Enzo is another elder in Łutsël K'é. He said he had seen very few people on the streets while looking out from the window of his home on Friday, and that the community seems to be respecting the lockdown.

The band office and school are closed, he noted, and only five people are allowed in the grocery store at once.

The case was included in the latest update from public health officials Friday, which put the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the territory at 137.

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