A curfew has been implemented in Old Massett (pictured) following a Council of the Haida Nation community bulletin on Friday, July 17, 2020 notifying Haida citizens and citizens of Haida Gwaii that they had received a self-reported case of COVID-19 on the islands. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

A curfew has been implemented in Old Massett (pictured) following a Council of the Haida Nation community bulletin on Friday, July 17, 2020 notifying Haida citizens and citizens of Haida Gwaii that they had received a self-reported case of COVID-19 on the islands. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

First case of COVID-19 reported on Haida Gwaii: Haida Nation

Community members notified of possible exposure; Old Massett Village Council recommends curfew

The Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) released a community bulletin just before midnight last night (July 17) to notify residents of Haida Gwaii that they had received a self-reported case of COVID-19 on the islands.

The bulletin also said the CHN had received reports from community members who have been notified of possible exposure and are self-isolating.

Anyone with symptoms is asked to phone the Northern COVID-19 online clinic to be referred for testing if appropriate. Call 811 or Northern Health’s Online Clinic at 1-844-645-7811. Online clinic hours are Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and statutory holidays.

“At this time, everyone must use extreme care, kindness and caution,” the bulletin said. “Continue to observe the Haida Gwaii state of emergency COVID-19 measures: respect physical distancing, wash your hands before and after touching your face.”

Around the same time as the CHN bulletin, the Old Massett Village Council emergency operations centre (EOC) announced it was considering setting a curfew “to assist with the safety of the community.”

The OMVC recommended that the EOC enact a curfew for Old Massett and Tlaga Gaw Tlaas, or New Town, from 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day, to be reviewed biweekly.

ALSO READ: 3 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Northern Health

Both updates followed a day of rumours circulating on the islands that there may be a case of COVID-19 locally, including a now-deleted post that was shared from the Skidegate Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.

The department later apologized for the post, saying it was “intended to remind first responders that [they] respond to all calls assuming the individual(s) are sick to avoid exposure on [their] crew.”

“[The CHN] will release information once it has been fact-checked and been made public,” the new post said.

About seven hours before the bulletin reporting the case of COVID-19, the CHN had released another community bulletin that reminded residents to remain calm and take steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Testing and results are confidential,” the bulletin said. “If there is a confirmed case on Haida Gwaii, Northern Health … will notify anyone who has been in contact with that person.”

The CHN also hosted a live webinar at 7 p.m. on July 17 to update residents on community care and COVID-19 measures.

ALSO READ: 28 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. including baby in neonatal intensive care unit

Commenting on the events of the day as a physician, Dr. Caroline Walker, chief of staff at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital, said she was “disheartened to see this rumour about a COVID-19 case spreading and creating such panic.”

“This will make people fearful to get tested and backfire on managing a pandemic,” she wrote in a post on social media. “The fundamentals of public health are ‘test, trace and isolate’. If we encourage fear, then people will not be tested and public health cannot do its job.

“Please continue to be kind to each other and follow the basic public health advice to keep each other safe. If there is a confirmed case, public health will notify close contacts that are at risk. If the broader public is at risk and an outbreak is declared, this will be made public.”

Earlier on Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters there were three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Northern Health region, involving people in separate communities. Two of the cases were connected to travel, Henry said, and an investigation by health officials is underway to do with the third.

Health officials do not release details for specific locations related to single cases unless it is deemed a cluster or an outbreak, citing privacy concerns.

The Observer has reached out to the CHN and OMVC for comment.

ALSO READ: ‘Symptom-free two weeks’: Skidegate EOC lifts warning about Sandspit COVID-19 exposure

Do you have something we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Victoria police are warning people of a continued rise in cybercrime. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)
Victoria police warn of rising cybercrime called spear phishing

Fraudsters continue to trick people out of large sums of money

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)
Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

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 Jan. 19

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

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read