Sask. First Nations 'taking no chances' with major precautions
CARRY THE KETTLE NAKODA NATION -- Many Saskatchewan First Nations are taking steps to protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, even with low case numbers in the province’s indigenous communities so far.
According to Dr. Ibrahim Khan, a health surveillance doctor with Indigenous Service Canada, of Saskatchewan’s 278 confirmed COVID-19 cases, four were from First Nations communities.
“Those four cases have recovered, they were very stable, they did not require any hospitalization,” said Khan. “They weren’t even severe cases, so they recover at home.”
“It’s quite a reassuring number and we hope it stays like that, but as you know, we are still seeing the peak of these cases in Saskatchewan.”
With that in mind, Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation has added checkpoints at its entrances to try to limit the possibility of exposure, especially for children and elders.
“What we’re trying to do is keep our people safe from COVID-19 and just keep them around and keep them home as much as we can,” said Brady O’Watch, the chief of Carry the Kettle.
Vehicles are stopped as they leave Carry the Kettle, where someone will ask where they’re headed and give them information on COVID-19.
The First Nation has also stockpiled essential supplies like flour and canned goods so people won’t need to head into nearby towns and cities.
The band is providing an Easter to its residents, again to keep people from heading out of their homes.
An 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. curfew was announced on Thursday morning.
Anyone returning from travel is also asked if they’re experiencing any symptoms.
“Communities are taking no chances, and that is great,” Khan said.
A number of other First Nations in the province are taking similar steps to combat the pandemic, in an effort to keep a low number of COVID-19 cases.