North Okanagan First Nation struggling with increase in COVID cases

COVID rises in Splatsin

Chief Doug Thomas is urging Splatsin residents to stay home as the North Okanagan First Nation grapples with a COVID outbreak.

The newly elected Kukpi7 (Chief) says the number of cases continue to rise.

On Jan. 20, Thomas posted a note on the Splatsin website stating cases had tripled in less than a week, and the number of individuals in self-isolation had doubled.

At that time, there were 15 COVID-19-positive individuals and 46 in self-isolation.

But, a week later, Thomas says there are currently as many as 27 COVID-19-positive individuals in the community and an additional 24 to 37 in self-isolation.

“Please understand the tools at hand remain the same to combat this disease,” Thomas said in a Youtube video, urging people to stay at home if possible until Friday, postpone gatherings, wash hands often or use sanitizer, wear a face mask in public indoor spaces, and keep a six-foot physical distance.

“According to 97 per cent of doctors, vaccination is still one of the most effective tools to combat the spread and lessen the severity of these viruses,” said Thomas. “The new strains are increasingly airborne, which is a good reason to limit physical interaction. The City of Enderby and Splatsin still have one of the lowest vaccination rates.”

Thomas reiterated the importance of the vaccine, noting “the elderly have been the most vulnerable” and a vaccine is a good tool to help protect the vulnerable, young and old.

In response to the outbreak, Splatsin offices remain closed to protect the health and safety of band members and staff, and ensure services and programs remain unaffected.

The closure will expire at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Impacted offices include the band office, community centre and Shihiya school.

For non-medical emergencies, contact senior executive advisor Steve Kulmatycki at 250-309-2961.

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