The Klahoose First Nation is under lockdown after an Elder in the community tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 25.
The village of 91 people is located on Cortes Island. Klahoose Chief Kevin Peacey informed the community on Wednesday about the positive test, asking residents to stay home and shelter in place until further notice.
“We’re on lockdown right now,” he said. “We have a great team working on this, we have a nurse on site. We’re going to be doing testing pretty quick here for the members because there was a lot of people joining houses, which is very scary.”
Security has been set up on the road into the community to prevent people from visiting and security will be doing nightly patrols to ensure community members are respecting the lockdown protocol.
“We’re getting support from the government,” Peacey said. “If you get a first case on a reserve you jump right ahead in the funding. That helps out with food, barriers, security, so that’s appreciated.”
A supply truck with food will be stopping by the community with food to ensure everyone has enough to eat until the lockdown is lifted.
Peacey said there was a likely second case, as the Elder’s son lives with her and has also become ill. That will be confirmed in the coming days. Testing is expected to begin either on Friday or Monday.
“It was a total wake-up call,” Peacey said. “I’ve watched other reserves get it and I hoped we wouldn’t. We’re a small remote island and its the worst fear you can have, especially with an Elder being the first one diagnosed. We only have a handful of Elders that know our language, so it’s very scary if we lose them.”
“There’s been nothing but support from Cortes Island,” he added. “There’s some raffles that they want to do for donations. We’ve got donations for diapers, blankets and shampoo from different stores. It’s amazing how people come together on this island.”
There are no other cases on Cortes that Peacey is aware of. The person who tested positive will be transported to hospital on Monday.