The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)

Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

The First Nations community of Ahousaht is in lockdown and its two schools are shut down after a community member tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ahousaht Emergency Operation Centre director Curtis Dick said the community member, a female in her 30s, is in isolation with her family.

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through,” said Dick, adding that his team of six is fully committed to doing their best to be transparent and help in any way they can.

“The more information they have, the better off they are and the less anxiety they have. That’s the approach we are taking. We are doing our best to answer everybody within 10 to 15 minutes of an email, but sometimes that takes longer,” he went on to say.

The village of Ahousaht is located about a 30-minute boat ride from the municipality of Tofino. Dick said community members have access to a local food distribution and regular truck deliveries for special orders.

“We are only allowing people to leave that have a medical emergency or [medical] appointments. Members can’t just leave if they want to go to Tofino. There is no shopping at this time,” he said.

“We are doing our best to really clamp down. People have to get a written pass to leave the community and if you don’t have one, you don’t go.”

READ: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announces lockdown after member tests positive for COVID-19

Ahousaht is one of eight Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations that have recorded positive COVID-19 cases recently, according to Tseshaht First Nation deputy emergency operations centre coordinator Hugh Braker. The other nations include Kyuquot, Ehattesaht, Nuchatlaht, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Huu-ay-aht and Tseshaht. Ehattesaht, which is near Zeballos on western Vancouver Island, has eight cases (two recovering), according to Braker.

Huu-ay-aht First Nation recently had a member who died from COVID-19, Braker said, and there is a Nuu-chah-nulth child currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, although Braker did not divulge where the child is from.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announced a lockdown of its community on Nov. 22.

Dick said he is not surprised the novel coronavirus has reached the remote community of Ahousaht.

“We have a lot people travelling in and out of our community like anywhere else. We really hope this [positive case] has really woken people up to take this seriously and that we do our part,” said Dick.

He went on to emphasize the importance of educating and communicating.

“One of the biggest challenges that we have is what are going to do with the kids? Now with Christmas coming up, it won’t look the same. Start talking about it. There is no mall visits or Santa sitting for my kids. It’s going to be tough, but remember it’s not going to be forever,” he said.

Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is urged to self-isolate and contact 811 or the Island Health COVID-19 Testing Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442. More information can be found at HealthLinkBC’s website, www.healthlinkbc.ca.

– With files from Susie Quinn



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Leaders from Tofino-Ucluelet region urge tourists to stay away for two weeks

CoronavirusFirst Nations

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

Just Posted

Cumberland’s council is looking at more ways to preserve its heritage not only through its museum and archives but through historic buildings. Record file photo
Cumberland considers density bonus to preserve heritage

The incentive is just one of many steps community looking at to protect older sites

Royston resident and photographer Tanja Kerr took a quick video of two eagles taking a quick dip in the water earlier this week. Video still/Tanja Kerr
Video: Eagle spotting in Royston

Photographer Tanja Kerr ensures her camera is always nearby

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Union Bay 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

Angel Azul
World Community Film Festival reaches 30th year

Every February for the past three decades, World Community has hosted a… Continue reading

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

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Homalco First Nation said that it will intervene in the judicial review sought by aquaculture companies with regards to federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Island fish farms by 2022. In this picture from Sept. 24, a demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver.(Quinn Bender photo)
Chief says push for fish farm judicial review a challenge to reconciliation, Aboriginal Rights

Homalco First Nation chief reacts to Mowi and Cermaq intervention in Discovery Island decision

Most Read