The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)

Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

The First Nations community of Ahousaht is in lockdown and its two schools are shut down after a community member tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ahousaht Emergency Operation Centre director Curtis Dick said the community member, a female in her 30s, is in isolation with her family.

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through,” said Dick, adding that his team of six is fully committed to doing their best to be transparent and help in any way they can.

“The more information they have, the better off they are and the less anxiety they have. That’s the approach we are taking. We are doing our best to answer everybody within 10 to 15 minutes of an email, but sometimes that takes longer,” he went on to say.

The village of Ahousaht is located about a 30-minute boat ride from the municipality of Tofino. Dick said community members have access to a local food distribution and regular truck deliveries for special orders.

“We are only allowing people to leave that have a medical emergency or [medical] appointments. Members can’t just leave if they want to go to Tofino. There is no shopping at this time,” he said.

“We are doing our best to really clamp down. People have to get a written pass to leave the community and if you don’t have one, you don’t go.”

READ: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announces lockdown after member tests positive for COVID-19

Ahousaht is one of eight Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations that have recorded positive COVID-19 cases recently, according to Tseshaht First Nation deputy emergency operations centre coordinator Hugh Braker. The other nations include Kyuquot, Ehattesaht, Nuchatlaht, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Huu-ay-aht and Tseshaht. Ehattesaht, which is near Zeballos on western Vancouver Island, has eight cases (two recovering), according to Braker.

Huu-ay-aht First Nation recently had a member who died from COVID-19, Braker said, and there is a Nuu-chah-nulth child currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, although Braker did not divulge where the child is from.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announced a lockdown of its community on Nov. 22.

Dick said he is not surprised the novel coronavirus has reached the remote community of Ahousaht.

“We have a lot people travelling in and out of our community like anywhere else. We really hope this [positive case] has really woken people up to take this seriously and that we do our part,” said Dick.

He went on to emphasize the importance of educating and communicating.

“One of the biggest challenges that we have is what are going to do with the kids? Now with Christmas coming up, it won’t look the same. Start talking about it. There is no mall visits or Santa sitting for my kids. It’s going to be tough, but remember it’s not going to be forever,” he said.

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is urged to self-isolate and contact 811 or the Island Health COVID-19 Testing Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442. More information can be found at HealthLinkBC’s website, www.healthlinkbc.ca.

– With files from Susie Quinn



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Leaders from Tofino-Ucluelet region urge tourists to stay away for two weeks

CoronavirusFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An employee at Sidney’s Thrifty Foods tested positive for COVID-19, the parent company Sobeys posted on its website Wednesday. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
COVID-19 case reported at Sidney grocery store

Thrifty Foods employee last worked at the store April 3

Despite a staff recommendation supporting for what would have been Sidney’s third retail location for recreational cannabis, council signalled its opposition to the application by a vote of 5-2. The proposed store would have been located in the 9700-block on Third Street sharing space with other businesses. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney rejects proposal for third cannabis location in community

Application from Jima Cannabis to open a store in 9700-block of Third Street goes down by 5-2 vote

A Sooke man died Tuesday afternoon after his car left the roadway in 7500-block of West Coast Road around 1:30 p.m. and hit a tree. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke man dies in Tuesday crash on West Coast Road

The man’s SUV left the roadway and struck a tree

Madison soaks up the sunshine with her family at at Langford Lake on April 5. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Langford residents hit the beach

Environment Canada predicting temperatures into the low 20s this weekend

(Black Press Media file photo)
Privacy concerns keep COVID-19 cases at University of Victoria off the record

Island Health, UVic not sharing specifics after internal notice confirms coronavirus case

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Most Read