A curfew has been implemented in Old Massett (pictured) following a Council of the Haida Nation community bulletin on Friday, July 17, 2020 notifying Haida citizens and citizens of Haida Gwaii that they had received a self-reported case of COVID-19 on the islands. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

First case of COVID-19 reported on Haida Gwaii: Haida Nation

Community members notified of possible exposure; Old Massett Village Council recommends curfew

The Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) released a community bulletin just before midnight last night (July 17) to notify residents of Haida Gwaii that they had received a self-reported case of COVID-19 on the islands.

The bulletin also said the CHN had received reports from community members who have been notified of possible exposure and are self-isolating.

Anyone with symptoms is asked to phone the Northern COVID-19 online clinic to be referred for testing if appropriate. Call 811 or Northern Health’s Online Clinic at 1-844-645-7811. Online clinic hours are Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and statutory holidays.

“At this time, everyone must use extreme care, kindness and caution,” the bulletin said. “Continue to observe the Haida Gwaii state of emergency COVID-19 measures: respect physical distancing, wash your hands before and after touching your face.”

Around the same time as the CHN bulletin, the Old Massett Village Council emergency operations centre (EOC) announced it was considering setting a curfew “to assist with the safety of the community.”

The OMVC recommended that the EOC enact a curfew for Old Massett and Tlaga Gaw Tlaas, or New Town, from 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day, to be reviewed biweekly.

ALSO READ: 3 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Northern Health

Both updates followed a day of rumours circulating on the islands that there may be a case of COVID-19 locally, including a now-deleted post that was shared from the Skidegate Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.

The department later apologized for the post, saying it was “intended to remind first responders that [they] respond to all calls assuming the individual(s) are sick to avoid exposure on [their] crew.”

“[The CHN] will release information once it has been fact-checked and been made public,” the new post said.

About seven hours before the bulletin reporting the case of COVID-19, the CHN had released another community bulletin that reminded residents to remain calm and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Testing and results are confidential,” the bulletin said. “If there is a confirmed case on Haida Gwaii, Northern Health … will notify anyone who has been in contact with that person.”

The CHN also hosted a live webinar at 7 p.m. on July 17 to update residents on community care and COVID-19 measures.

ALSO READ: 28 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. including baby in neonatal intensive care unit

Commenting on the events of the day as a physician, Dr. Caroline Walker, chief of staff at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital, said she was “disheartened to see this rumour about a COVID-19 case spreading and creating such panic.”

“This will make people fearful to get tested and backfire on managing a pandemic,” she wrote in a post on social media. “The fundamentals of public health are ‘test, trace and isolate’. If we encourage fear, then people will not be tested and public health cannot do its job.

“Please continue to be kind to each other and follow the basic public health advice to keep each other safe. If there is a confirmed case, public health will notify close contacts that are at risk. If the broader public is at risk and an outbreak is declared, this will be made public.”

Earlier on Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters there were three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Northern Health region, involving people in separate communities. Two of the cases were connected to travel, Henry said, and an investigation by health officials is underway to do with the third.

Health officials do not release details for specific locations related to single cases unless it is deemed a cluster or an outbreak, citing privacy concerns.

The Observer has reached out to the CHN and OMVC for comment.

ALSO READ: ‘Symptom-free two weeks’: Skidegate EOC lifts warning about Sandspit COVID-19 exposure

Do you have something we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read