By Randy Jensen
Alta Newspaper Group – Lethbridge
The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed on the Blood Reserve.
Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox announced the confirmation of the case last week from the Blood Tribe Department of Health and federal government.
“Of course, our health officials, our professionals are working quickly to notify those who have come in contact with this person. We offer our prayers for them and their family,” said Fox during a livestreamed announcement. “We also ask all Blood Reserve residents and members who are thinking of returning to the reserve to stay home or where you are at.”
Fox stressed as the Blood Tribe’s health professionals complete their contact tracing and notification it is important to follow the instructions from health professionals.
“We continue with those practices … if we do that we will hopefully stem the spread of this very dangerous virus.”
Rick Soop, director of Blood Tribe Emergency Management, said they have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely and have been working diligently to prepare the community in fighting the virus.
“We ask the community to remain calm and if they are not taking the necessary measures to prevent the spread of this virus to begin now,” said Soop. “Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. We also ask to remember your compassion, respect and concern… to support those that may be going through this difficult time.”
Soop added Blood Tribe healthcare professionals, front line workers, custodial staff, leaders and decision makers have been working around the clock to prepare for this.
Soop said there is emergency social housing available and they are finalizing plans on a few others to help with the overcrowding problem faced on the reserve.
“We require your co-operation to follow the travel restrictions and do not go anywhere unless absolutely necessary,” he said.
The Emergency Management team has compiled a booklet for reserve residents with information about the COVID-19 response. Information includes instruction on home isolation and how to care for a person with COVID-19 at home. The booklet also lists all the important Blood Tribe service phone numbers.