Pine Creek First Nation issues community lockdown on rise in various coronavirus cases

a roadside sign: Pine Creek First Nation has begun a complete lockdown due to COVID-19, specifically cases of B117 coronavirus of various concern.

© Submitted by Cindy Campbell-McKay
Pine Creek First Nation is promoting a complete lockdown due to COVID-19, especially cases of B117 coronavirus of various concern.

A western Manitoba First Nation was completely shut down Saturday night, following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community.

Pine Creek First Nation is setting up checkpoints on every route to the community, about 325 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases-particularly linked to various B117 coronavirus concerns.

The lockdown will remain effective until June 7, according to a community notice issued on Friday.

At the time, the community had 31 active cases of COVID-19, including 16 caused by various concerns, almost doubling the numbers from last week. There are 19 homes now isolated in Pine Creek.

That’s partly because people haven’t listened to the bans, Chief Karen Batson said.

“They still visit and such, and the variables can be passed quickly and the cases can quickly arise again,” he said.

The community notice says First Nations safety officials will enforce public health orders in the province, particularly those prohibiting indoor and outdoor gatherings by anyone other than household members.

Community members will be able to purchase and receive mails, according to the announcement.

Pine Creek’s gas bar limits its hours and will only serve one resident per hour from the side window.

Anyone with a medical appointment will need a confirmation slip before they are allowed to break through checkstops.

This full lockdown comes after First Nation staged a campaign less than a week ago, closing the band’s office, health center, Jordan Principles office and child care.

Batson said it was a difficult decision to lock down, but it mattered how many cases of the race were in the small First Nation.

“We just want to protect the health and safety of all members of the community.”

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