Chief of Constance Lake First Nation declares state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak
TIMMINS -- Constance Lake First Nation, 32 kilometres west of Hearst, is in a state of emergency.
Chief Rick Allen and his council made the declaration on Thursday after 11 people in the community tested positive for COVID-19.
The outbreak began last Saturday with two cases. The chief is worried about all 900 community members, especially the elders.
“They are our knowledge keepers and our language holders," Allen said. "We have to protect these people.”
He said community-wide testing will take place in the near future and he expects more positive cases. He said COVID-19 vaccinations are needed immediately.
“I’m just frustrated that we as the First Nations that have road access are more susceptible to getting the virus within our communities because people could easily have access to our communities,” Allen said.
The New Democrat MP for the area agrees. While Carole Hughes told CTV News she does not know why some First Nations communities receive vaccines before others, she said she is working on getting Constance Lake First Nation some support.
“For First Nations, it's even more critical at this point in time, given the fact, you know, that there are a variety of people that live in the same house," Hughes said. "The capacity issue is huge within First Nations so ... the government must do more to ensure they have access to vaccines.”
Allen said it is no one’s fault they have contracted COVID19, calling it an “unseen virus that doesn’t come knocking on anyone’s door.
He said those who have it in his community are in self-isolation and so far are doing OK.