All band-operated buildings and facilities at Walpole Island First Nation will be thoroughly cleaned after a positive case of COVID-19 was reported in the finance department.
The community had two active cases when all programs were shut down on Nov. 16, but it was down to one active case on Tuesday.
The programs are temporarily closed while buildings are sanitized and staff members are tested.
“Hopefully within the next two weeks we’re going to gradually phase back into operation and to continue on with the service to the community members,” Chief Charles Sampson said in a Facebook video. “This is to be regarded as an extreme precautionary measure. We’re doing it for the best interests of the band members and the employees.
“Hopefully we will get back to normal in a very, very short period of time.”
All contacts of cases have been interviewed and scheduled for testing, community health supervisor Kyla Stonefish wrote Tuesday to community members.
“All WIFN programs have been closed to test employees, sanitize all WIFN buildings and begin a phased approach to reopening over the next 2 weeks,” she wrote. “Regularly scheduled testing for employees will continue.
“This is not in response to a large spike in numbers in our First Nation but as a proactive response to the rise in COVID cases in the province, country and world.”
She reminded community members to wear masks, practise physical distancing and wash their hands. They should remain in their social bubbles and not leave the reservation unless necessary.
“We want people to remain vigilant,” Stonefish said in a Facebook video.
Staff will work from home while the governance building is closed.
“Please expect to stay home from work and to work from home on priority tasks,” director of operations James Jenkins wrote on Facebook. “If it is necessary to come into the office within the next two weeks, please make the request and do not come into the office without written approval.”
There have been 18 cases of COVID-19 in the community. One person has died.