WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — A COVID-19 lockdown has ended in a First Nations community in British Columbia's central interior, but officials say they still plan to limit access for non-residents for at least another month.
Chief Helen Henderson of the Canim Lake Band says in a joint statement with local officials that the community's strong values enabled everyone to pull together after a high number of cases led to an outbreak.
Henderson said nearly two weeks ago that 60 cases were diagnosed among 234 residents, adding crowded housing contributed to the outbreak that led to the death of an elder.
The band, the Cariboo Regional District and the District of 100 Mile House say school and administrative office reopenings will be phased in as some affected families remain in isolation.
They say band members may visit nearby communities for appointments and to buy groceries and other supplies.
District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall says he's looking forward to seeing members of the community emerging from lockdown.
"I recognize the sacrifices made by the Canim Lake Band have benefited everyone in the south Cariboo," he said in a statement. "Through collective action and a unified response, they not only fought back against the outbreak in their own community but they helped to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the wider south Cariboo area."
Officials in British Columbia reported 514 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province will receive fewer doses of the Moderna vaccine than expected.
She advised residents to stay home during the Family Day long weekend next month, but suggested travel within the province may be possible during spring break if transmission gets under control.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2021.
The Canadian Press