"This is an opportunity for Enoch Cree Nation to be proactive. We know that a number of our brothers and sisters from across Turtle Island and beyond have been exposed to the variant in other First Nations communities. We've seen how it sweeps right through the nation, and it's causing a lot of strain and stress on livelihoods," Colleen McDonald, the nation's executive director for health services.
Enoch Cree Nation is limiting operations to essential services only in an effort to get ahead of a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the community.
The nation announced a plan to close non-essential services for 14 days on on Wednesday, after seeing a sudden spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases. During this time kindergarten to Grade 12 classes will move online for two weeks.
McDonald said that after being at zero cases for weeks, as of Wednesday afternoon there were seven on-reserve confirmed cases of COVID-19, and that there are also cases among nation members who live off-reserve in the Edmonton area. She said they are waiting to find out if any of those cases are variant strains of coronavirus.
McDonald said it's not a full lockdown but they are closing anything that isn't essential.
She said health services like the food bank and social supports will still operate. Schools will move to online learning, and many nation staff will be asked to work from home. She said she knows that pandemic fatigue has set in, but she's asking people — both in her community and beyond — to keep their guard up.