A COVID-19 spike for a Vancouver Island First Nation is serving as a painful reminder that the disease does not discriminate by age.
Cowichan Tribes is reporting that there have been two more deaths among its members last weekend from COVID-19, both of them “young adults.” Three members of Duncan-area community have now died of the pandemic since the new year.
“It was a hard weekend for our community with the virus,” Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour told the members of the First Nation in a video.
“Council offers our condolences to the families for their losses, and our hearts go out to you. Out of respect for the families, we are not going to share the names of the two who passed away last weekend, but both were young adults. Not only is this a high-risk disease for our elders as we saw this week, and we all need to be careful and take the pandemic seriously.”
Seymour said that, as of Feb. 16, Cowichan Tribes has had 209 cases of COVID-19 since the new year. He said, of that number, 195 have recovered, six are in self-isolation, five are in hospital, and three have died.
Seymour said that, overall, 79 households in the community have been impacted by COVID-19.
He also announced on the video that Cowichan Tribes’ council has extended the shelter-in-place order for the First Nation community until 5 p.m. on March 5.
This order was initially in effect from Jan. 6 to Jan. 22, but has been extended twice since then.
“Many of you have been staying home and doing your part, and we thank you for making these choices that are keeping everyone safe,” Seymour said.
“Please continue to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols by not visiting other households, keeping your two-metre distance from others, wearing a mask in public, only leaving home for essential reasons, and getting tested if you are sick. The new variants of this disease out of the United Kingdom and elsewhere make it so important that everyone continue to follow public health orders, and our shelter-in-place order.”
Seymour said it’s important for the members of Cowichan Tribes to get tested at the first sign of symptoms, because if the virus is caught early, people have a much better chance of recovering from it.
“To make testing more accessible, there is COVID-19 testing available at our Health Centre and we can have you tested at your home,” he said.
“Medical transportation for testing is available. Please call Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre at 250-746-6184.”
Seymour said Tribes’ council understands this is a difficult time.
“Especially not being able to visit with family and friends, and practice our culture the way we normally do,” he said.
“If you need support, please reach out by calling our COVID-19 Community Navigators at 250-715-3339. We have made various financial and mental health supports available to help our members. See our COVID-19 guide for more information. Let’s all continue to work together to bring the case numbers down to zero.
“Together we will get through this.”