The Snuneymuxw First Nation has issued a shelter-in-place order as there are now five active COVID-19 cases in the community and other members who are symptomatic.
Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse issued a letter to members of the First Nation, dated Jan. 1 and posted to social media Jan. 2, saying that Snuneymuxw “has declared a cluster of active cases” and is automatically activating emergency and safety measures.
According to the letter, chief and council met Friday to issue the order, which will remain in effect for 14 days as of 9 p.m. Jan. 1. Snuneymuxw members are asked to stay home and only leave households for emergencies or for essential services or needs. Reserves will be limited to one access point and “security checkpoints are currently being implemented and will be present at these access points in the near future,” the letter notes.
Households are being asked to designate one person per household to do the shopping and are being asked to try to limit trips to once a week.
The Snuneymuxw First Nation emergency operations centre has been activated and the nation said it is “working closely” with Island Health, the First Nations Health Authority and provincial and federal agencies.
The chief’s letter encouraged members to reach out to friends and family virtually, emphasizing the importance of connection during this time.
“Continue to be calm, be kind and to work together to keep the community safe,” the letter concluded.
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools posted on social media that Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School will be closed to all staff and students for a minimum of 14 days and Snuneymuxw First Nation students living on-reserve and attending district schools will be offered remote learning.