Williams Lake First Nation prepares for gradual reopening as COVID-19 recoveries continue

·2 min read

With COVID-19 cases on the decrease at Sugar Cane, Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) leaders are looking to reopen government offices next week.

WLFN acting emergency operations centre (EOC) director Aaron Mannella said 23 WLFN members have been considered to be free of the disease since their EOC was activated Jan. 8.

“That’s something our EOC is incredibly happy about and incredibly excited about, and we’re looking forward to those recovery numbers to improve,” he said in a Jan. 21 community Facebook update.

As of 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Mannella said there had been 38 confirmed cases within WLFN membership.

The EOC continues to operate at level two, with EOC staff remaining focused on supporting members with groceries and supplies, mental health resources and traditional medicines.

Since its activation, Manella said groceries and supplies had been delivered to 55 homes. He said staff has responded to an additional 34 calls for general support and information through the WLFN COVID-19 support line.

In conjunction with EOC staff, Borland Creek Logging has also delivered 23 loads of firewood.

Mannella said chief and council had provided approval Jan. 21 for a gradual reopening plan for government offices, Little Chiefs Daycare, Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming and after-school support at Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium.

WLFN government offices in Sugar Cane and Williams Lake will be staffed but remain closed to the public as of Monday, Jan. 25. Little Chiefs Daycare will also open that day.

Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming will not reopen until Monday, Feb. 1.

“Keep in mind this is a concept,” Mannella said.

“Obviously, our council, our leadership is going to continue to adapt anything that changes.”

Next week, vaccines are expected to be available to WLFN elders via appointment through Three Corners Health Services Society.

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