Splatsin Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian is reminding people to follow health guidelines and avoid non-essential travel as COVID-19 is having an impact on his and neighbouring Secwepemc bands.
A notice posted January 20 to the Splatsin website states a member of the community had been exposed to someone who had tested positive for the virus, and that Interior Health would be contacting individuals as soon as possible.
“You will be requested to stay in your home and self-isolate within your household bubble,” reads the notice.
According to the notification, nearby First Nation communities, including the Little Shuswap Lake, Neskonlith and Adams Lake bands are currently experiencing COVID-19 positive cases with number rising.
Christian speaks to these in a video shared with the notice and on Youtube.
“All around us we know there are positive cases in Neskonlith, Adams Lake and Little Shuswap Lake, and also in the Okanagan Indian Band,” said Christian. “So we know for a fact that covid is here and it’s all around us.”
On January 15, Kukpi7 Cliff Arnouse of the Adams Lake band, Neskonlith Kukpi7 Judy Wilson and Little Shuswap Lake Kukpi7 Oliver Arnouse released a joint notice, explaining that over the previous week they began to receive confirmation that individuals had tested positive for the virus in their respective communities.
“Some homes are now isolating and receiving assistance from our health departments and from Interior Health,” reads the notice.
Christian stressed now is the time to avoid all non-essential travel.
“And what that means is don’t gather with people who don’t live with you or who you don’t know,” said Christian. “Don’t visit other households. If you become sick, stay home and call the health department. That’s really important because the way this works, if you go visit somebody you could potentially spread it and you don’t even know you’re spreading it.”
Christian also reminds people to wear masks when in public, physically distance and sanitize hands.
Wilson, Oliver Arnouse and Cliff Arnouse asked that during this stressful period, people remember to be kind and help one another if possible.
“It’s nobody’s fault if we get sick and we should not blame anyone,” said the band chiefs. “We can all be kind and help each other out. Please reach out to someone in your household who is not feeling well. With good communication, we can get through this rough period together.”