Łutselk'e closes school, warns against travel, following COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife

·2 min read
A sign in Łutselk'e, N.W.T., welcoming visitors to the traditional territory of the Łutselk'e Dene First Nation. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC - image credit)
A sign in Łutselk'e, N.W.T., welcoming visitors to the traditional territory of the Łutselk'e Dene First Nation. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC - image credit)

Łutselk'e Dene First Nation has issued an advisory against travel to and from Yellowknife, and has closed its school for two weeks, in response to two positive cases of COVID-19 in the city.

In a post to the community's bulletin board on Facebook dated April 22, the community's leadership says members are not to travel to Yellowknife by air or by snowmobile, and that non-community members are not to travel into Łutselk'e until further notice.

It also says all community members returning from Yellowknife will have to isolate for eight days.

Chief Daryl Marlowe says it's a precautionary measure.

"We just put some safety measures in place just to protect our community because … we had a lot of people traveling in and out of Yellowknife," he told CBC.

"We're an isolated community, and it's for the safety of everyone, especially the elders and the youth."

He says the measures will be in place until they're sure the situation in Yellowknife is under control. While there isn't an outbreak in the city at this time, there was a recently reported case that involves 40 indentified contacts.

Doris Enzo, a member of the Łutselk'e Dene First Nation council, also confirmed to CBC News that Łutselk'e Dene School has also been closed for two weeks as a precaution.

Doris Enzo is a member of the Łutselk'e Dene First Nation.
Doris Enzo is a member of the Łutselk'e Dene First Nation.(Sara Minogue/CBC)

"We're just trying to be more safe for our community," said Enzo. "After we started hearing [of] COVID in Yellowknife, we are trying to tell people that came back yesterday to stay home, wear their masks until we get more information out of Yellowknife."

Enzo said she was at the airport yesterday, urging people coming into the community to wear masks.

"If they come back into town, [they] have to stay six feet away from each other," Enzo said adding people must sanitize and wash their hands. "If you don't need to go to the store, stay home."

Fort Providence closes

Fort Providence, N.W.T., is also erring on the side of caution and announced it is closing its doors to visitors and hunters, according to a Facebook post on the community's online bulletin board.

The post says this will be in effect until further notice.