STONEY NAKODA – The number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation as officials confirmed the first positive case in Morley this week.
“Through our commitment to open and honest communication, we are writing to advise you that we have received notification from Alberta Health Services of one confirmed case of COVID-19 in our Morley community,” the Nakoda Emergency Management team said in a statement.
“Stoney Health officials, supported by the Alberta Health Services, are working to determine the exact source of infection.”
The new positive cases are in addition to the already 13 confirmed cases in Eden Valley.
“Although this news may feel disheartening, the fact remains that our Nations have done an amazing job at limiting the spread of COVID-19 through our communities,” Bearspaw Chief Darcy Dixon said in a previous statement.
“We have demonstrated a level of preparedness and we will continue to respond to the needs of our communities.”
The Stoney Nakoda First Nation consists of three bands, Wesley, Chiniki and Bearspaw, has three chiefs and three reserve locations, Bighorn, Morley and Eden Valley.
The Bighorn reserve location is within Clearwater Country and was formed in the late 1940s, approximately 160 kilometres north of the more well-known Morley reserve. Eden Valley is located further south, near Longview, Alta. The most recognized reserve location is Morley, approximately 56 kilometres west of Calgary, with borders along the Municipal District of Bighorn, Canmore, Kananaskis Country, Rocky View County and Cochrane.
The bands and reserve locations are known as the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. It has a population of approximately 4,000-5,000.
The Nation went more than a month without any confirmed positive cases in the three reserve locations. But since the province has opened up testing to all symptomatic Albertans and band members, as of Monday (April 26) there are now 14 positive cases with the recent one in Morley and 13 confirmed in Eden Valley.
A press release from Nation officials Monday announced that Eden Valley has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases, up 10 from when the first three cases were confirmed Friday (April 24).
“Our focus remains on the health and wellness of everybody in our Nation. We are going to need your help to help stop the spread,” Dixon said in a statement.
“It is critically important that we continue to work together, abiding to the suggestions and cautions set out by our emergency management team and government officials.”
Stoney Nakoda is the second reserve in Alberta to have confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The Bearspaw Chief said officials will continue to work closely with Alberta Health Service to determine the exact source of these infections.
“This process can take some time. When we know [the source of infection], we will share that information with you,” he said.
The Morley townsite and Eden Valley have also set up drive-thru testing sites.
In Eden Valley, band members can get tested in the school parking lot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Testing is open for those with symptoms, elders, people with medical issues and those facing addiction.
In Morley, band members can get tested at the Stoney Health Trailer, formerly known as the "eye" trailer, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Band members can get tested in Morley is they have a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, or diarrhea.
Officials are asking anyone with severe difficulty breathing, chest pain, having a hard time waking up, feeling confused or going through bouts of loss of consciousness to call the Nakoda EMS at 403-932-2222.
Follow RMOToday.com's COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.