Three people have tested positive for COVID-19 in two neighbouring Interlake communities, the first time the disease has been identified on First Nations in Manitoba.
Peguis First Nation leadership announced Friday evening that two of its members tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving rapid testing. Earlier in the day, Fisher River Cree Nation announced one of its members had also tested positive.
On Tuesday, Fisher River Health Services learned of a person in the community who started showing symptoms of COVID-19 that day, Fisher River Chief David Crate and other leadership said in a statement posted online.
The person was tested for the illness at the Percy E. Moore Hospital and got a positive result on Thursday, the statement said.
The test is awaiting a second confirmation at the province’s lab, and the sick person is self-isolating in stable condition. People who were in close contact with them are now in 14-day self-isolation and watching for symptoms, the statement said.
Fisher River Health Services is monitoring everyone involved daily.
An investigation by Fisher River Health Services and the First Nations Inuit Health Branch found the person was exposed to the illness in Winnipeg before Sept. 6, and had no symptoms when they came back to Fisher River, the statement said.
The community has been working to expand its COVID-19 testing capacity for people with symptoms of the illness. These resources are expected to be available in the next few days. More details will be shared once that’s confirmed, the statement said.
The Fisher River administration office was closed on Friday to be cleaned and sanitized and will reopen on Monday.
There is no threat to public health, the statement said, but community leadership is asking people to keep following public health protocols like wearing a face mask, washing hands and staying home when sick.
Fisher River leadership also asked people in the community to avoid posting COVID-19 concerns about others on social media, which it said can lead to panic and stress.
2 people test positive in Peguis First Nation
The two suspected cases of COVID-19 in Peguis First Nation were close contacts of another potential COVID-19 case, says a statement from the First Nation’s leadership and Peguis Public Health.
The two individuals have been self-isolating and are being monitored for symptoms by nurses, the statement says.
The samples are now being forwarded to Cadham Provincial Laboratory to confirm the results.
Peguis Public Health is conducting contact tracing and will notify any community members who may need to self-isolate. It is also asking Peguis First Nation members to refrain from posting concerns or reporting individuals on Facebook.